Memorandum by Brookwood Cemetery Ltd (CEM
I am the owner of the largest private cemetery
in Western EuropeBrookwood Cemetery.
I have enclosed some information which I hope
will be relevant to your enquiry.
My cemetery has been in existence since 1854.
It was opened by an Act of Parliament. However to-date the cemetery
has been totally neglected by major funding bodies and also by
local sponsors. Brookwood's importance in the Victorian celebration
of death should be formally recognised by the Government and organisations
such as English Heritage, and it should be acknowledged as a site
of national importance.
The cemetery requires vast financial resources
to restore the important structures and the cemetery's unique
funerary landscape. Restoration will also mean these structures
remain for the benefit of the local and wider community for educational
and historical uses.
Although privately owned the cemetery does not
generate enough income to maintain the grounds and monuments in
a satisfactory manner. The grounds are approximately 450 acres.
We receive no assistance from our local councilWoking
Borough Council and in fact they oppose us at every opportunity.
The cemetery is serving the local community as well as the wider
population. In the past months the councils has taken action against
the cemetery for cutting down dead and dying trees, self seeded
trees, use of a caravan for staff purposes, public rights of way
and illegal dumping of rubbishchanging the use of the cemetery,
(we successfully defended this action albeit as great expense
to the cemetery's purse.)
We would like to seen an action committee set
up within the government where cemetery owners and managements
could seek advice and funding without having to rely on their
The enclosed information has been prepared with
the assistance of Mr John Clarke of the Brookwood Cemetery Society.
Mr R H Guney
I send comments on just three sections listed
in the Press Notice:
Comments by the Brookwood Cemetery Society
Cemeteries provide valuable open spaces of infinite
value to the environment. Due to their planning and design, the
planting is often of historic significance in its own right as
a unique landscape. Specimens of trees may be important for various
reasons, for instance rarity, size or maturity, since cemeteries
were often planted as miniature arboretums. Although no systematic
study has yet been undertaken into the flora and fauna at Brookwood,
the benefits of the cemetery in hosting significant species must
not be overlooked or underestimated. Fieldwork so far suggests
(for instance) that Brookwood hosts badgers, birds, deer, rare
butterflies and fungi, to name but a few.
By definition cemeteries are historically significant,
yet curiously ignored by architectural historians and others.
Brookwood was opened in 1854, and was designed as the sole solution
to London's burial problem. Served by its own railway funeral
service (1854-1941), with a size and grandeur quite unlike that
of any other British cemetery, nevertheless it remains relatively
unknown. Its historical significance covers not only the landscape
(and its size: Brookwood is the largest cemetery in the UK), but
the structure erected within the cemetery grounds. These may include
chapels, lodges or other buildings designed when the cemetery
was opened. These are often designed by architects of national
importance. (For instance, the core of the old Superintendent's
Offices at Brookwood were designed by Sydney Smirke, brother of
Robert Smirke who designed the British Museum). Additionally there
may be mausolea or other monuments or sculptures of similar significance.
(At Brookwood it is suspected the memorial to the Vickers family
in plot 33 was designed by Edwin Lutyens.) At present, Brookwood
has none of these structures listed (along with the protection
this might offer), with the sole exception of the Memorial Chapel
in the American Military Cemetery.
Cultural aspects cover many areas. Brookwood
is a multicultural cemetery, and a walk through its different
sections is a cultural education by itself. Brookwood includes
the first Muslim burial ground in the UK, the only Zoroastrian
burial ground in Europe, along with many other fascinating Muslim
groups. The educational value of this is immeasurable, quite apart
from its significance in the history of British thanatology. The
Brookwood Cemetery Society conducts guided walks throughout all
sections of the cemetery each year, and continues to promote the
cemetery to local and not so local visitors and groups. Further
details may be found on our Website at http://www.surreyweb.org.uk/bcs/
(2) THE ROLES
The Government should be more active in promoting
and protecting historically significant cemeteries. Although Brookwood
is acknowledged as an important landscape and garden cemetery
design, so far Government's role has been merely to list or catalogue
this fact. No promotion is given. No support (financial or otherwise)
is granted to cemeteries like Brookwood that have never received
any funding from any central source to restore or repair important
memorials. (The few that have been restored by the Brookwood Cemetery
Society have been undertaken with funds raised by the Society
or by the Society approaching relevant private organisations for
financial support.) Government has been consistently ignorant
of the importance of historically significant cemeteries, and
has had no co-ordinated approach from its various departments
or agencies. Government should establish a key list of historically
significant cemetery sites (which should be published) as a basis
for building a policy to support (financially and otherwise) these
sites so that they are preserved intact for future generations.
This protection might be granted within (say) English Heritage
or a similar national organisation. The current muddled situation
has led for instance to part of Brookwood Cemetery being redeveloped
with an office block and destroying part of a sensitive historic
landscape. And this despite the local Council's so-called "Conservation"
of the cemetery area. Despite opposition from the Society, this
development went ahead with the Council's misguided blessing.
(3) FUNDING AND
Cemeteries are by definition a wasting asset
and many Victorian cemetery sites are now full and unlikely to
yield any profit. Elsewhere, even where land remains for burial,
the level of business may mean the future of the cemetery is by
no means assured. It should be possible for historically significant
cemeteries, whether privately owned or not, to bid for national
funds like the National Lottery or from English Heritage. Brookwood
remains privately owned yet, despite sympathetic management, it
is impossible for the current owners to undertake major restoration
work of important memorials and monuments, and indeed the landscape
in general, out of current receipts. Government should recognise
this shortfall and make appropriate funds available for restoration
work, and allow national funds to be used for this purpose.
ITEMS FOR RESTORATION IN BROOKWOOD CEMETERY
c1860. Bath stone(?) Architect unknown.
Gothic-style gabled and lanterned memorial.
Apparently constructed of Bath stone, this has badly weathered
in recent years and much of the memorial is incomplete. It requires
extensive reconstruction. Photographs exist showing how it used
c1919-20. Probably marble. Architect unknown.
Fine classical-style building. The bronze door
(now hidden due to vandalism) includes a relief of Christ as the
good shepherd. The roof needs attention and the glazing (at the
rear) is broken.
The Glades were officially opened in 1950 and
the lake has always formed a prominent feature of the entrance
area. The whole lake area should be restored and replanted. It
might be possible to bid for the drainage channels to be cleared
and repaired (eg the bridge over the ditch at the end of the main
area of the Glades).
Late 19th century. Possibly York stone, although
of an unusual reddish hue. Architect unknown.
This obelisk is gothicised and the design is
certainly unique at Brookwood. The obelisk has somehow shifted
on its base, whilst the pedestal is also out of true. Unfortunately
the inscription panels are starting to lift, so any remedial work
would need to take possible damage to these panels into account.
c1898-9. Marble. Architect unknown.
This mausoleum commemorates the founder of London's
Cafe Royal (Daniel Nichols, died 1897). The wooden door and the
windows need restoring, along with the interior.
c1890s. Marble. Architect unknown.
The door and interior would need restoring.
The roof may need attention. The bronze plaque commemorating the
artist Henrietta Normand (nee Rae, died 1928), needs replacing
since it has been stolen.
c1893-4. Bronze sculpture on marble pedestal.
Probably the most important memorial at Brookwood.
It commemorates Lord and Lady Pelham-Clinton, members of Queen
Victoria's personal household. The bronze is very early and a
remarkable example of the Victorian celebration of death. The
inscription panels on the base are missing, as are the chains
around the grave space. The whole sculpture group is starting
to lean forward, and requires setting upright. The surrounding
trees may require pruning since these have been allowed to mature
around this memorial.
c1910. Marble and bronze. Architect unknown.
Small mausoleum that contained the ashes of
Weatherley Phipson (died 1909) in a fine porcelain(?) urn placed
on a shelf opposite the door. The interior has been vandalised
and the urn smashed. The current state of the interior and the
roof are unknown.
A circular plot containing many interesting
graves. This area might provide the core of a restoration of the
cemetery landscape back to its Victorian finery. The Ring might
be tidied up, memorials repaired and cleaned, and some of the
planting restored (eg: replacing the ring of monkey puzzle trees).
Late 1930s. Rusticated grey granite. Architect
Of massive construction, this structure would
require its boundary hedge being trimmed back and the door being
restored. It is not known if there are any stained glass windows
to the structure, nor is the state of the interior known.
Date unknown. Pink granite. Architect unknown.
Very little is known of this building. It is
one of very few in the Egyptian style at Brookwood. The boundary
hedge requires trimming to make the building visible again. The
state of the roof and interior are unknown.
Late 1910s. Probably marble. Architect unknown.
The door (probably wooden) and glazing requires
attention, and also the roof. There is a very similar mausoleum
near the entrance to the "new" part of Highgate Cemetery,
although that design was constructed in pink granite.
Mid 1930s. Rusticated grey granite. Architect
The door and roof require attention. The 1930s
stained glass was smashed years agoit may have been by
Tiffany. The state of the roof and interior are unknown.
1890/1 (in gable). Polychrome marbles and granites.
The door has the family name cast in it. The
roof requires attention, as does the doorway. This mausoleum is
well-sited since it forms part of a vista as seen from the opposite
end of St Jude's Avenue. The state of the interior is unknown.
HEG MAUSOLEUM (PLOT
Date not known. Marble? Architect unknown.
Very little is known of this building. The door
is believed to be wooden. The state of the roof and interior are
c1890. Polychrome marble. Architect unknown.
Gothic style. This building used to have stained
glass windows and the cast iron door has the family name cast
upon it. The coffins are above ground level which may complicate
any restoration work.
c1892-93. Pink granite, bronze and cast iron.
This was the first public memorial to Bradlaugh,
a prominent 19th-century politician (died 1891). It has been incomplete
since c1938 when the bronze bust (by F. Verheyden) was mysteriously
removed from the memorial. It has never been traced. A bronze
wreath, which was affixed to the front of the plinth, has been
removed in more recent times. A photograph is known of the memorial
in its complete form, and the National Secular Society may have
some information on this, although their premises were bombed
in the last war.
c1935-6. Largely marble. Architect unknown.
This mausoleum has an attractive green pantiled
roof and is constructed of marble(?) The bronze door (now hidden)
has a 1930s style domestic front door. There was a circular stained
glass window at the rear, which is almost certainly broken.
1858. Sone unidentified. Architect J. Johnson.
Mason W. Boulton of Guildford.
Probably the earliest mausoleum in the cemetery.
It may have been designed as a chapel of ease before use by this
family as a private chapel and burial ground. The chapel was last
restored in 1924 (see inside building). The structure includes
fantastically fine carved figures of knights in armour on the
exterior gable ends. The floor has partly given way, the doors
are incomplete, and the burial vault is prone to flood in winter.
Requires extensive restoration and repair.
c1890. Marble? Architect unknown.
The largest mausoleum in the cemetery and used
as the Society's logo. Built originally for the 4th Earl Cadogan
(died 1915), it was sold back to the Necropolis Company in 1910
and then converted into a columbarium. In desperate need of major
repairs to the dome and roof. Inside, there is an underground
vault which is prone to flood in winter.
c1890. Marble, pink granite columns, bronze, wood,
copper clad roof (largely decayed), and mosaic (largely lost).
Italianate style building. The roof requires
complete rebuilding and the barrel vaulting over the structure
is suffering from water penetration and will collapse in time.
Bronze plaques on the rear wall have been stolen over the yearsthese
recorded details of the family buried blow. The mosaic frieze
("Because I Live Ye Shall Live Also") was executed by
the Salviatis (see below). The pathway leading to the mausoleum
from St George's Avenue might also be repaired. Its boundaries
were marked by small granite stones set in the ground, some of
Completed 1899. Brick, stone, slate, wood and
metal. Architect almost certainly Cyril B Tubbs (died 1927, plot
Although the original design was burned down
in about 1990, the structure could be completely restored inside
and out. Photographs exist of the original design and it may be
possible to track down some of the architect's drawings from appropriate
archives or the architectural press of the time.
c1893-4. Brick, slate and wood. Architect unknown.
Erected as a memorial to a parishioner who dies
in 1892, this most attractive structure could be repaired and
restored to its original condition. Some tiles need replacing,
but generally speaking the structure appears to be sound.
1855. Cast iron. Supplied by Messrs Cottain &
Hallow of Oxford Street, London.
The only surviving pair of unusual cast iron
obelisks that marked the burial grounds of St Anne's Soho (Westminster).
They require setting upright and one requires some attention at
the top, whilst the plates at the bases (which identified the
parish ground) are missing. They should be restored to their original
sand colour, so they appear to be made of stone rather than cast
1900. Marble. A copy of the obelisk in St George's
It was erected over the plot where reburials
from the church in London were placed in 1899. Unfortunately the
plot has sunk over the years and consequently the obelisk has
toppled over. The ground should be levelled and stabilised, and
the obelisk rebuilt.
c1899. Marble, pink granite and mosaic. Mosaics
by Salviati & Company.
Guilio Salviati died in 1898, and this remarkable
memorial was erected to his memory. The base, supporting an angel
figure, has four separate mosaic panels. Each is showing signs
of damage from damp, moss, and similar ageing. Each panel is of
the highest quality of craftsmanship. The memorial used to have
some sort of cast iron decorative fence to it, but it is not known
what the exact design was.
1854. Brick and tiled roof. Architect Sydney Smirke
The core of this much-altered building, with
the two chimney stacks, is believed to be the original "Parsonage
House" constructed for the opening of the Cemetery in November
1854. Smirke was Architect to the London Necropolis Company, the
founders of Brookwood Cemetery. The Company's chaplains disliked
the cottage and it was subsequently occupied by the Cemetery Surperintendent.
The porch is a later addition. The structure has been renovated
and altered (eg a replacement roof destroying the original decorative
tiling) with the very regrettable adjacent office development.
However this building could be re-used as the cemetery office,
forming a focal point once again in the cemetery. It could also
be used as a visitor's centre and as an educational resource.
Date unknown. Largely marble. Architect unknown.
This tiny mausoleum has been vandalised in the
past and requires restoration and renovation. It is believed the
coffin(s) are stored above ground which may complicate restoration
c1897. Terracotta and marble. Designed by Emmeline
Halse (died 1923, believed to be buried in plot 36).
Unique memorial with unusual terracotta base
and relief profile portrait of the deceased on top (van Laun died
in 1896). Some general renovation of the memorial is required.
Late 1850s?. Largely marble. Architect unknown.
Classical style mausoleum which requires fairly
extensive repairs. The roof is damaged and parts of the stone
decoration on the walls has decayed badly. The coffins are stored
above ground which may complicate restoration work. The glass
window at the rear has been smashed (although it is bricked up).
The family at one time lived at nearby Ottershaw Park, so this
mausoleum is of considerable local interest.
1890s. Largely marble. Architect unknown.
Apparently quite sound from the exterior, nevertheless
it may well require attention to the roof and interior.
R H Guney