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An MP in West Norwood Crematorium and a Theatre Dresser in Lambeth Crematorium

Examining the cremation records 
of West Norwood and Lambeth Crematoria 

With last week's launch of West Norwood and Lambeth crematoria records on the Deceased Online database, more of us can now find online ancestors who lived and/or died in the modern borough of Lambeth. Try searching the database if you are researching 20th-century individuals from any of the following parts of south London:
  • Brixton
  • Brixton Hill
  • Clapham
  • Clapham Park
  • Crystal Palace
  • Gipsy Hill
  • Herne Hill
  • Kennington
  • Lambeth
  • Loughborough Junction
  • Balham
  • Oval
  • Stockwell
  • Streatham
  • Streatham Hill
  • Tulse Hill
  • Vauxhall
  • Waterloo
  • West Dulwich
As discussed in last week's blog, West Norwood Crematorium is located on the site of one of the 'Magnificent Seven', West Norwood Cemetery in south London. This cemetery lies close to Tulse Hill, Dulwich, Streatham, and Brockwell Park. Since it opened in 1916, the crematorium has served a wide spectrum of south London society - from the poorest to the powerful. The life of a figure of power, cut down in his prime, is examined below.
Walter J. Baker MP
photograph by Bain News Service, publisher(Lifetime: d/k) - Original publication: d/k Immediate source:, PD-US,
In December 1930, a large crowd, including several national politicians, arrived at West Norwood Crematorium to pay their respects to Labour MP, Walter John Baker (1876-1930), who had died in office on the 2nd at the age of 54. After unsuccessfully contesting the 1918 and 1922 seats of Harborough in Leicestershire. Baker served as MP for Bristol East from 1923 until his death. He was re-elected in 1924 and 1929.    

Baker had been the assistant secretary general of the Union of Post Office Workers. The Daily Herald of 8 December 1930, page 3, "A number of postmen in uniform were among those who attended the funeral of Mr. Walter J. Baker, Labour M.P. for Bristol East, at the West Norwood Crematorium, London, on Saturday. Mr Baker, who died on Tuesday, aged 54, was assistant general secretary of the Union of Post Office Workers. A large number of representatives of the Union were present including Councillor R. Bishop of the executive council. The Prime Minister was represented by Mr. Ben Smith, M.P. The Liberal Party has selected Mr. Edward as its candidate for the Bristol East by-election. Mr. Edward Baker was the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for the Howdenshire Division of Yorkshire at the last election. . ."
Entry in the South Metropolitan Cemetery Company Register of Cremations for Walter John Baker MP
Following Walter's death, a by-election was held in Bristol East in January 1931 and was won by Stafford Cripps, again for Labour.

Lambeth Crematorium opened in 1958, within the grounds of Lambeth Cemetery. Despite its name, the cemetery is located in the London borough of Wandsworth at Blackshaw Rd, Tooting, London SW17 0BY, on the border with the borough of Lambeth. The original records for the crematorium are held in the offices of Streatham Cemetery. 

This crematorium was also popular with south Londoners from a variety of backgrounds. On 31 October 1968, The Stage, reported that Maud Holland, a dresser at Drury Lane for nearly twenty years, had died and that, "Ill-health compelled her to retire after the run of 'Hello, Dolly!'." This had been a long run of the popular Broadway show and had starred firstly Mary Martin in the title role, and later Dora Bryan. Maud Holland's funeral took place on 31 October 1968 at Lambeth Crematorium. 

Maud Holland's register entry can be found in the Deceased Online database. You can see in the register image below that the column with informants' details has been removed for confidentiality reasons.

If you have south London ancestors, do keep checking back on this blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest on the upload of records for the cemeteries of Lambeth, West Norwood and Streatham. And if you find any of your family in our collections, do let us know. We love to hear from you! 

Official Lambeth Council site for the cemetery and crematorium 


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