Victorian Cemeteries

West Norwood Cemetery

This cemetery  is situated in the London Borough of Lambeth. The history of West Norwood Cemetery dates back to 1836  when it was first founded, though it was not consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester until December 1837, when the first  burial took place.

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It is indeed the second oldest out of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries, also known as the South Metropolitan Cemetery.

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Originally there were two chapels, one Anglican and one Nonconformist, but both damaged during World War II. After the war, the Episcopal chapel was demolished, to be replaced by a memorial garden over its catacombs.

The catacombs can be found at the top of the hill although they are no longer in use nor open to the public.

It was also one of the first cemeteries to have installed a crematorium in 1915 and still in operation.

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By the 1960’s West Norwood Cemetery was being neglected and overgrown and it was acquired by Lambeth Council which started a ‘lawn clearance’ programme resulting in the removal of over 10,000 memorials.

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Within its 40 acres (162.000 m2 approx) of land, there is a wide variety of flora and fauna, including this animal…

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As seen in other Victorian cemeteries, the attitude towards death was more natural than nowadays and yet a carefully and delicately matter to take care of. The revival in Gothic style is also present in these cemeteries.

Flying angel

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Sir William Tite was a director of the South Metropolitan Cemetery Company; he designed and laid out  the landscaping and several monuments in the revival Gothic style. He was eventually interred there in 1873.

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Even though the Council resold over 900 graves,  following a 1970’s legislation permitting municipal cemeteries to sell unused burial space, is  now working along with The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery to repair and restore some of the monuments.

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The Greek cemetery

In 1842, a section of the cemetery was purchased by London’s Greek community for a Greek Orthodox cemetery, and it soon filled with many fine monuments and large mausoleums, commemorating the history of Anglo-Hellenic families. The mortuary chapel of St Stephen, commonly attributed to architect John Oldrid Scott, is listed as a Grade II* monument by the English Heritage.

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Location: the main entrance is situated in Norwood Road, SE27 9JU. The closest tube station is Brixton, from which you can take bus 2 towards the cemetery, stopping by West Norwood Library. Otherwise, West Norwood train staition is minutes away from the main entrance.

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For more information, please visit the official website: www.westnorwoodcemetery.com

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12 thoughts on “West Norwood Cemetery

  1. Congratulations for your blog and for sharing these amazing places with us! It had never occurred to me to visit the London cemeteries but your pictures and comments have been of great help to show us what the reality is… They are full of history and beauty!!!

  2. Es maravilloso!!! Tantos viajes a Londres y nunca se me había ocurrido ir a visitarlos. Las fotos muy buenas y muy trabajadas.
    De nuevo, enhorabuena, un gran post !!!!!

  3. Me encantan las fotos, muy otoñales y preciosas. No se cuándo volveré a Londres pero la próxima vez que vaya quisiera darme un paseo por alguno de estos cementerios que parecen sacados de una máquina del tiempo. Besos y abrazos

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