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Changes with regards to social distancing comes into place from today, Monday 19 July 2021. Following the Government guidance we will be removing the restrictions for mourners in both Saltwell and Birtley Crematoria.

Whilst we are removing the current limit, due to the continuing high level of COVID cases in Gateshead we must still ensure that we manage the risk at both sites, with this in mind we are asking that all mourners are seated throughout the funeral services. Saltwell Crematorium has a seating capacity of 76, these are single seats, and Birtley has a seating capacity of approximately 54. These are pews which can safely accommodate 3 mourners per pew.

We are still asking that all services are strictly kept to a maximum of 20 minutes as we are still operating a cleaning regime in-between each service.

We are advising that face coverings are worn within the Chapel and hand sanitising stations will be available until further notice.

Gateshead has two crematoria, at Birtley and at Saltwell. Ceremonies for all religious, non-religious and cultural traditions are available at both.

A full funeral service may be conducted within the crematorium chapel, or alternatively the service may be held elsewhere with a committal service held at the crematoria. Twenty-minute services are carried out throughout the day. The service can be extended at the time of booking if time is available and at an additional cost.

There are facilities in both crematoria to play virtually any piece of music, providing enough notice has been given before the service takes place.

Shortly after the service the coffin is placed into the cremator. If relatives wish to watch the committal, crematoria staff must be informed at the time of booking.

The law requires that cremated remains are disposed of in accordance with the written instructions of the applicant. The options are:

  • the remains may be scattered in the crematorium's Garden of Remembrance
  • the remains may be collected by the funeral director and given to the family to do with as they wish.

Cremation authorities who are members of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities are required to operate strictly in accordance with the Code of Cremation Practice

The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) Charter for the Bereaved gives detailed information about all aspects of the cremation process and encompasses environmental and social aspects. We can provide information and guidance to you if you require.

Recycling of metals recovered from cremation

In the past metals were removed from the ashes and buried in the grounds of the crematorium. This has become less acceptable for environmental reasons. The ICCM has contracted OrthoMetals to collect and recycle metals from participating crematoria throughout the UK.

All money from the recycling scheme will be distributed amongst selected charities with confirmation posted on the ICCM website.

Burial and cremation records

If you are searching for records visit our burial and cremation records page. 

Contact us

Bereavement Services
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street
0191 433 3816 or 433 3811 

Office opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm and 2 to 4pm

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