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Macclesfield Crematorium: Ian Curtis (1956-1980)

Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980) 
Memorial for Ian Curtis in Macclesfield Cemetery
Macclesfield Crematorium sits in the grounds of the cemetery. Opened in 1960, the crematorium was originally the cemetery's non-conformist chapel. It overlooks the wooded Whitfield Brook valley. This side of the Garden of Remembrance is tiered with paths passing through a peaceful arboretum of trees and shrubs.

The Garden of Remembrance is arguably most famous for providing the final resting place of Ian Curtis, the lead singer and lyricist of the band Joy Division, after his tragic suicide in 1980. Curtis was born in Stretford, Lancashire, but grew up in Macclesfield. He did well at school, developed a keen interest in music, philosophy, and poetry, and received several scholastic awards. Ian Curtis, along with Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Terry Mason formed a band named Warsaw, after a song by David Bowie. Warsaw was subsequently renamed to Joy Division in 1978, a name derived from the 1955 novel House of Dolls. Joy Division released two albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, before the death of Curtis.
Promotional image of Joy Division circa 1979, released as a part of Heart And Soul US Press Kit in 2001 through Rhino Entertainment record label. The band is not currently active.
Ian Kevin Curtis was born to Kevin and Doreen Curtis on 15 July 1956. Although his family was working-class, Ian was an academic child who enjoyed reading and poetry, and won a scholarship to an independent school, King's School Macclesfield. Throughout his teenage years, he developed his interest in music, listening to musicians such as David Bowie. After leaving school with good grades, he took a job in a record shop in Manchester and then worked for the civil service. In 1975, Curtis married Deborah Woodruff. They had a daughter, Natalie, and lived in Macclesfield. 

Inspired by an early Sex Pistols concert in Manchester, Curtis forms a Warsaw with childhood friends, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Terry Mason, and Stephen Morris. Curtis began suffering from epileptic seizures in 1978, a year into his time with Warsaw. Around this time, the band signs to Factory Records and is renamed Joy Division. Curtis' epilepsy became severe in a short space of time, and his mood was suffered from the side-effects of his medication. In 1980, the band's singles, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Atmosphere/She's Lost Control both reached number one in the UK Indie Chart. The same year, their album, Closer, also became an Indie number one in the UK. 

One day before the band were due to fly to the USA, tormented by his epilepsy and struggles with his relationships, Curtis hanged himself in the kitchen of his Macclesfield home. He was 23 years old.

Crematorium Register Entry of Ian Kevin Curtis (1956-1980)

Ian Curtis's life and music were turned into a celebrated film by Anton Corbijn, Control (2007), based on Touching From A Distance, the memoir of his widow, Deborah

The peaceful surroundings of Macclesfield Cemetery where Ian Curtis' ashes are buried
This is the last post in our series on Macclesfield Cemetery, but we would love to hear of any of your ancestors or other interesting people whose records you have found in the collection. Do leave a comment in the box below, or contact us via our Facebook or Twitter pages!

Photograph of the grave of Ian Curtis by Daniel Case - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,  


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