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Famous Victorians in West Norwood Cemetery

West Norwood Cemetery - the Victorian era 

This week, I take a deeper look at the Victorian records of Deceased Online's new West Norwood Cemetery Collection

Above: Sir Henry Doulton's Grade II Listed mausoleum
Like the other Magnificent Seven cemeteries, West Norwood is celebrated for its Victorian funerary architecture, particularly those of the gothic tradition, and its peaceful garden space and wildlife in a city environment. This week's post highlights some of the lives of the Victorians buried in the south London site.

The Victorian records for this site oDeceased Online cover 1837 to 1901. During this period, some of the city's most well-known residents were buried there.

Isabella Beeton, née Mayson, photographed in about 1854

As featured in last week's post, one of the most celebrated inhabitants of West Norwood is cookery writer, Mrs Beeton. Tragically, Isabella Beeton died at the young age of 28 from puerperal fever after the birth of her fourth child. The wife of journalist and publisher Samuel Beeton, her Book of Household Management (1861) was a publishing sensation. Although her burial took place in the Victorian era, Beeton's headstone was replaced in the 1930s.

Henry Tate

Sir HENRY TATE (1819-1899) 
Tate was born in Lancashire, the son of a Unitarian clergyman. From apprenticeshipship to a grocer, Tate worked his way to owning a chain of six stores. After becoming a partner in a sugar refinery in 1859, Booth sold his grocery business, and eventually took over the company, changing its name to Henry Tate & Sons. He bought the patent for making sugar cubes in 1872, built a sugar refinery in Liverpool and established another in Silvertown, east London. As a millionaire, Tate was a generous philanthropist, and, in 1889, donated his art collection to (and gave funds for building on the site of Millbank Prison) the Tate Gallery. His Grade II* listed terracotta mausoleum has been refurbished by the family. In 1898, Tate was made a baronet.

Sir Joseph Barnby, caricature by "Spy"
Sir JOSEPH BARNBY (1838-1896) 
Born in York, the son of an organist, Barnby had a musical upbringing and trained at the Royal Academy of Music. As a composer, his works include hymns and songs, such as Now The Day Is Over). He was conductor of the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society (which he formed) until his death. He also performed at the Royal Albert Hall as an organist. Although he was buried in West Norwood, Barnby's funeral service was held at St Paul's Cathedral.

Born Charles Delauney Turner, he took his second surname from his stepfather, Joseph Bravo. Well educated, Bravo became a barrister following a degree at Trinity College, Oxford. He married the wealthy Florence Ricardo (1845-1878) in 1875. Records indicate Barnby abused his wife. After four months, Bravo was discovered dead at a landmark house, The Priory in Balham, having been poisoned with antimony. Strangely, although it took three days for him to die, Barnby did not explain how he was poisoned. The case became a notorious unsolved murder. Two years after her husband's death, Florence Barnby died of alcohol poisoning but is not buried at West Norwood. She was just 33 years old.
Barnby's grave is inaccessible in the cemetery. 

Other famous Victorians buried at West Norwood Cemetery include:

JOHN BRITTON (1771-1857) Antiquarian writer of the 26 volume series, The Beauties of England and Wales. His Grade II* listed monument is a monolith of millstone grit. 
JAMES WILLIAM GILBART (1794-1863) Banker and writer on banking practice. His tall Grade II listed Gothic monument was possibly designed by Sir William Tite. 
Dr GIDEON ALGERNON MANTELL (1790-1852) Surgeon, fossil collector and geologist, discovered and named the Iguanodon dinosaur. His Grade II* listed monument was restored with funds from the Geologists’ Association. 
DOUGLAS WILLIAM JERROLD (1803-1857) Dramatist and journalist, who wrote for Punch magazine. His monument was destroyed but has been reinstated by Lambeth Council. 
Sir HENRY BESSEMER (1813-1898) Scientist and prolific inventor: the Bessemer converter for large scale production of steel from pig-iron, an observatory at his home. His monument is Grade II listed. 
CHRISTOPHER POND (1826-1881) Catering entrepreneur, made his fortune in Australia, sponsored a cricket team tour, developed railway catering in England, the Criterion restaurant. His family mausoleum is Grade II listed. 
WILLIAM PEEK (1791-1870) Peek's family was instrumental in the British tea industry, establishing  Peek, Frean & Co’s Biscuits. His monument has had its surrounding chains restored by the family. 
Sir HORACE JONES (1819-1887) Architect to the Corporation of the City of London, who designed Smithfield, Billingsgate and Leadenhall Markets, Tower Bridge (with engineer Sir John Barry). His table tomb is Grade II listed. 
JOHN WIMBLE (1797-1851) Merchant ship’s captain, whose Grade II listed monument is a chest tomb with side and rear panels having relief carvings of his ships, the top surmounted by a hull with its masts missing. 
JOHN GEORGE APPOLD (1800-1865) Engineer and inventor, who created the centrifugal pump used for drainage in the Fens, and a brake used in lowering telegraph cables into the sea for laying the first Transatlantic cable. 
OTTO ALEXANDER BERENS (1797-1860) Prussian-born linen draper. His Grade II listed mausoleum, designed by architect E M Barry, with statues by Thomas Earp and Minton tiles, has been restored with funds from English Heritage. 
THOMAS DE LA GARDE GRISSELL (1778-1847) Antiquarian, two of his sons owned the Regent’s Canal Ironworks. The cast-iron (heavily galvanised) chest tomb with pink granite panels is listed Grade II. 
WILLIAM SIMMS (1793-1860) Scientific instrument maker: the optics and micrometers for the Transit Circle which defines zero longitude at Greenwich. His new headstone was erected by his great-granddaughter. 
GEORGE DOLLOND (1774-1852) Optical instrument maker, equipped observatories; the family firm has became Dollond & Aitchison. 
FELIX SLADE (1788-1868) Collector of books, manuscripts, engravings, pottery and glass; left money in his will for the endowment of Slade professorships and Slade School of Fine Art. 
Dr WILLIAM MARSDEN (1796-1867) Surgeon, firstly at St Bartholomew’s Hospital; set up small establishments that became the Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals. His Grade II listed monument is a pedestal with column
THOMAS CUBITT (1788-1855) Pioneer in building contracting: streets and squares in Belgravia, Pimlico and Bloomsbury, and Osborne House. His Grade II listed monument is a granite slab surrounded by a holly hedge. 
ALPHONSE RENE DE NORMANDY (1809-1864) Chemist and inventor: very successful apparatus for distilling sea water for drinking. His monument was destroyed but has been reinstated by Lambeth Council. 
WILLIAM WYON (1795-1851) Engraver: chief engraver at the Royal Mint, designed the coronation medal for William IV; his engraved image of Queen Victoria was used on the Penny Black postage stamp. 
THOMAS LETTS (1803-1873) Stationer, specialised in the manufacture of diaries; the business is now part of Filofax Group. His Grade II listed monument is a limestone pedestal decorated with rams’ heads at the corners. 
WILLIAM BURGES (1827-1881) Gothic architect: Cork Cathedral, Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch. His Grade II* listed monument, a chest tomb with a horizontal carved cross, was designed by Burges himself but is inaccessible. 
GEORGE JENNINGS (1810-1882) Sanitary engineer, installed toilets at the Great Exhibition (Crystal Palace) in Hyde Park and at Sydenham, pioneered public conveniences. His monument has been restored by Lambeth Council. 
JAMES HENRY GREATHEAD (1844-1896) Civil engineer: Tower Subway, for which he designed the tunnelling shield; City & South London Railway, world’s first deep-level underground electric railway; Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels. 
THOMAS LYNN BRISTOWE (1833-1892) Financier, MP for Norwood constituency, played an important part in raising the finance to secure for the public the land for Brockwell Park, collapsed and died at the formal opening. 
Sir HENRY DOULTON (1820-1897) Pottery manufacturer: stoneware pipes were used for sewers in London, later more artistic ware (Royal Doulton). His Grade II listed terracotta mausoleum has been refurbished by the family. 
Sir WILLIAM CUBITT (1785-1861) Civil engineer: prison treadmill in Brixton Prison, canals, docks, railways, Great Exhibition. His Grade II listed monument was destroyed but has been reinstated by Lambeth Council. 
WILLIAM HIGGS (1824-1883) Building contractor: Chelsea Barracks, St Thomas’ Hospital, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon’s Orphanage; his business later merged to form Higgs & Hill. 
CHARLES PEARSON (1793-1862) Solicitor to the Corporation of the City of London, promoted the idea of an underground railway in London, raised funding by persuading the Corporation to invest in the Metropolitan Railway. 
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON (1834-1892) Baptist minister, founded the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon’s Orphanage and Spurgeon’s College. His Grade II listed monument is a grey granite chest tomb with a marble bust. 
DAVID ROBERTS (1796-1864) Artist: landscapes and architectural paintings from his travels to Egypt and the Holy Land. His new headstone is a restoration with funds from the Mathaf and Schuster art galleries. 
ELHANAN BICKNELL (1788-1861) Art collector: works by major British artists; his third wife Lucinda was the sister of Hablot K Browne (Dickens’ illustrator ‘Phiz’); his son Henry married David Roberts’ daughter. 
Baron PAUL JULIUS DE REUTER (1816-1899) News agency pioneer, founded a centre for collecting and transmitting telegraphic news, head office in London. His Grade II listed pink granite monument has been refurbished by Reuters. 
BENJAMIN COLLS (1813-1878) Building contractor, his firm later merged to form Trollope & Colls. His Grade II listed pink granite monument has a bronze bust, and has had the cross on top restored by Lambeth Council. 
ARTHUR ANDERSON (1792-1868) Shipping firm founder: the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co (P&O); founded the Institute that became Norwood Technical College. His monument is a tall grey granite obelisk. 
ROBERT MOFFAT (1795-1883) Wesleyan missionary, went to South Africa, founded a church at Kuruman and established a mission at Inyati for the Matabele; his eldest daughter married the explorer David Livingstone. 

All West Norwood Cemetery records are available now on Deceased Online. They include digital scans of original registers, grave details indicating all those buried in each grave, and section location maps for graves.

Look out for next week’s blog, where I shall look further into the history of West Norwood Cemetery in the twentieth century. And please get in touch to let us know of any ancestors you have found buried in West Norwood. Just post a message via the Comments Box below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages!


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