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West Norwood Cemetery

Deceased Online adds burial records for the magnificent 
West Norwood Cemetery in south London 

We are very excited to announce the release of records for West Norwood Cemetery, one of London’s 'Magnificent Seven'. A total of 165,000 records have been uploaded to the database of this significant collection, which dates from 1837 to 2005. 

This beautiful cemetery, one of the 'Magnificent Seven' Victorian cemeteries, was founded in 1836 and is home to a great many listed monuments. The cemetery maintains a place in the English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, and is recognised as a site of nature conservation value within Lambeth.

West Norwood's original burial registers are held (?at the cemetery itself and at) but are available online only through Deceased Online information showing the other occupants of the grave, and maps showing the grave's approximate location in the cemetery.

This page in the burial register dates from May 1850

Like the other ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, West Norwood Cemetery is world-renowned, contains hundreds of notable burials, and has 69 Grade II/II listed monuments. West Norwood is the second oldest of these cemeteries, was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 December 1837, the year of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne (except for the area designated for Dissenters). Originally named the South Metropolitan Cemetery in the area then known as Lower Norwood, the cemetery was designed by Sir William Tite, in a Gothic style. Victorians needed these cemeteries as, by 1832, the burial grounds of London had become overcrowded and unsanitary. Parliament responded to the crisis by passing bills, allowing the creation of commercial cemeteries in what were then the more rural suburbs of the city. Private cemetery companies were created which went on to build the following cemeteries over the next nine years:
The records for Kensal Green, Nunhead, Brompton (including the first set of records), Highgate and now West Norwood, can all be exclusively searched on Deceased Online

Like the other Magnificent Seven cemeteries, West Norwood is associated with nonconformist burials. However, the Dissenters' Chapel was hit by flying bombs in 1944 and demolished in 1955, when it was replaced by the present all-denomination chapel and crematorium.

Work of the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery has helped to increase public awareness and appreciation of the cemetery. This registered charity publish three newsletters a year, and raise funds for conservation work. The Friends hold general tours of the cemetery on the first Sunday of every month, with special themed tours of the cemetery during the summer, and meetings during the winter. 

Famous Graves

Isabella Mary Beeton (1836-1865), author of the 1861 work Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, is also resting in West Norwood cemetery after dying in 1865 of puerperal fever at the young age of 28. Mrs Beeton worked extensively with her publisher husband, Samuel Beeton, revitalising the The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine with Isabella listed as 'co-editress'. Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, a collection of 24 articles from the The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, became one of the major publishing events of the 19th century. It was immensely well received by critics of the time and sold over 60,000 copies in its first year. It is still in print today.

Commonwealth burials of World War I and 52 oWorld War II, plus 18 cremations during the latter war. There is also one Belgian war burial and two Greek civilian victims of the RMS Lusitania. There are many Anglo-Indian Army officers buried in various parts of the cemetery.[6] Spencer John BentVictoria Cross recipient for action in the First World War, who was cremated here, is commemorated in a garden of remembrance.
More than 200 people in the cemetery are recorded in the Dictionary of National Biography. The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery have recorded and compiled biographies for many more of these with:
There are also many notables of the time, such as Sir Henry Tate, sugar magnate and founder of London's Tate GalleryArthur Anderson, co-founder of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation CompanyPaul Julius Baron von Reuter, founder of the news agency, and the Revd. Charles SpurgeonBaptist preacher, Isabella Beeton (the famous cookery writer), who died at 28 in childbirth, Lloyd JonesCo-operative Society activist, to name but a few.
The Greek diaspora is well represented, including the Ralli familyPanayis VaglianoRodocanachi family, Michalinos Family and Princess Eugenie Palaeologue.
In 1969, 11,500 remains were taken from the closed burial ground of St George's, Hanover Square, to West Norwood Cemetery and cremated, for burial here.[7][8]

The records available now on Deceased Online include digital scans of original registers, grave details indicating all those buried in each grave, and section location maps for graves (unfortunately, maps for a few graves are not available).
There are now records for five of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries available exclusively on Deceased Online; the others being Brompton, Highgate, Kensal Green and Nunhead. Across London, we have nearly - available on Deceased Online.
In next week’s blog I shall be exploring the history of West Norwood Cemetery through the Victorian era and highlighting some of the most notable interments of that period. In the meantime, if any of your ancestors were buried in West Norwood, please do let us know. There are many common ('pauper') graves in the cemetery, and we would love to hear about the lives any of the lesser-known residents. Do get in touch via the Comments Box below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages!


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