In last week's post, I explored the Victorian heritage of the early sections of Manor Park Cemetery and Crematorium. Unlike that privately-owned cemetery, neighbouring West Ham Cemetery is owned and run by the Newham Council. In fact, it is the only cemetery that the Council owns and manages, and it appears on Deceased Online in the name of 'The London Borough of Newham'.
Just a mile west of Manor Park Cemetery, West Ham was founded almost twenty years earlier, in 1857. It was one of the first publicly-owned cemeteries to be created after the Metropolitan Burials Act of 1852.The cemetery's plot covers 20 acres.
All of the cemetery's 180,000 burial records can be found in the database. These include private burials and details of over 200 Commonwealth War Graves. George and Catherine Jane Allen (or Allan), two victims of the Princess Alice disaster in 1878, which was explored in the Woolwich Cemetery post, are also buried here.
One of the worst non-military disasters of the First World War took place near the cemetery in Silvertown. On 19 January 1917 the largest explosion ever to occur in the UK ripped through the former Brunner Mond factory in Silvertown, East London. It had been turned over to munitions production near the beginning of the war, and now manufactured highly unstable TNT. The blast was heard as far away as Southampton and Norwich. A devastating fire storm spread beyond the factory into neighbouring streets, destroying or damaging more than 900 homes.
The human cost was high, with over 70 deaths. 390 people were injured. Several of the 73 victims of the Silvertown disaster, including firemen Sub-Officer Henry Vickers and Frederick Charles Sell, 24 year old Hugh McMarth, David Earl Taylor, Rosa Patrick, Ruby Patrick, and William Patrick, are buried in West Ham. Amongst the victims were children, including 2 year old Roydon Stanley Patrick and Winifred Sell, a 15 year old scholarship pupil at the Central Secondary School. The database reveals that Winifred and her father Frederick Sell are buried in the same grave.
The community of Silvertown deeply mourned those who were killed. When the firemen were buried, so many mourners gathered into the funeral procession that it grew to a quarter of mile long. In 1920, a memorial was erected in Newham to all 73 victims of the explosion.
|The Mausoluem to the Mond family, owners of the factory in Silvertown. The family's burial records can be found in the St Pancras & Islington Cemetery collection on the database.|
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, London Cemeteries (The History Press, 2011) p. 337