The living and the dead (1987)


A constant presence in the life of those who lived in Sightill was and remains Sighthill Cemetery. This cemetery was established in 1840 and covers some 19 hectares. Like its more famous contemporary across the other side of the M8 motorway, Glasgow Necropolis, this is a grand cemetery with extensive views owing to its location on a hill. (Indeed this hill would have been ideal for the stone circle had it not already been occupied by the dead.) The two cemeteries also shared monumental sculptors like John Mossman. This cemetery has another purpose as a green space, the lungs of the city – ironic given its purpose. One wonders what inhabitants of the Sighthill high rises thought of the community of the dead that in some cases dominated their views to the north. Renewal is hinted at here for those who believe, with many graves expressing hope in the resurrection. These are of course also standing stones in their own way albeit of sandstone, marble and granite, the rocks of remembrance. Eventually even the Sighthill stone circle would become a sort of funerary site, a monument to the dead. Yet these are also places of the living, marked by flowers left at the graveside or a standing stone, maintained places of memory and hope. Taken together with the previous image it seems that for a while Sighthill was a place of vertical architecture, nothing but uprights. Yet there were horizontal connections too, cutting across these sharp lines, in the form of human interactions. The cemetery survived the most recent round of demolition.