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Brookwood Cemetery
Brookwood cemetery 9.jpg
Details
Year established 1852
Location Woking
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°17′56″N 0°37′55″W / 51.299°N 0.632°W / 51.299; -0.632Coordinates: 51°17′56″N 0°37′55″W / 51.299°N 0.632°W / 51.299; -0.632
Owned by Erkin Güney (2006-present)[1]
Ramadan Güney (1985-2006)[2]
was previously London Necropolis Company
Size 500 acres (202 ha)
Number of interments 235,000
Website Brookwood Cemetery

Brookwood Cemetery, also known as the London Necropolis, is a burial ground in Brookwood, Surrey, England. It is the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe.

History[]

Brookwood Cemetery was conceived by the London Necropolis Company in 1849 to house London's deceased, at a time when the capital was finding it difficult to accommodate its increasing population, of living and dead. The cemetery is said to have been landscaped by architect William Tite, but this is disputed.[3] By 1854, Brookwood was the largest cemetery in the world (it is no longer). Its initial owner incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1852, Brookwood Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 November 1854 and opened to the public on 13 November 1854. Over 235,000 people have been buried there.

Brookwood originally was accessible by rail from a special station – the London Necropolis railway station – next to Waterloo station in Central London. Trains, with passenger carriages and others for coffins and ready for safe carriage by horse-drawn vehicle ran into the cemetery on a dedicated branch from the adjoining South Western Main Line – a junction was just to the west of Brookwood station. The original London Necropolis station was relocated in 1902 but its successor was demolished after suffering bomb damage during World War II. Two stations were in the cemetery itself: North for non-conformists and South for Anglicans. Their platforms still exist. For visitors wishing to use the South Western Main Line, Brookwood station provides direct access since June 1864. A commemorative very short track with signpost and plaque which purposefully gives way to a grass field recollects the old final main stage of the journey of the interred.

A military cemetery was added to Brookwood in 1917 and contains some of the dead from World War I and World War II. A military memorial was built in 1958. Memorialised here too is Edward the Martyr,[4] King of England, whose relics are kept nearby in St Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church.

The London Necropolis Company relinquished its interest in the cemetery around 1975, but the cemetery remains privately owned. In 1985, Ramadan Güney acquired Brookwood Cemetery, and was buried there in 2006. The purchase evolved from Güney's role as Chairman of the UK Turkish Islamic Trust, which wanted suitable burial facilities for its members.[2]

Brookwood Military Cemetery and memorials[]

Brookwood Military Cemetery covers about 37 acres (15 ha) and is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the United Kingdom.[5] The land was set aside during World War I to provide a burial site for men and women of Commonwealth and American armed forces who died in the United Kingdom of wounds. It now contains 1,601 Commonwealth burials from World War I and 3,476 from World War II. Within this, there is a particularly large Canadian section, which includes 43 men who died of wounds following the Dieppe Raid in August 1942. Two dozen Muslim dead were transferred here in 1968 from the Muslim Burial Ground, Horsell Common. The cemetery also has 786 non-Commonwealth war graves, including 28 unidentified French. It also contains Polish, Czech, Belgian and Italian sections.

The United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial stands at the north-eastern end of the 1914-1918 Plot.

The Brookwood Memorial stands at the southern end of the Canadian section of the cemetery and commemorates 3,500 Commonwealth men and women who died during the Second World War and have no known grave. This includes commandos killed in the Dieppe and St Nazaire Raids; and Special Operations Executive personnel who died in occupied Europe. The Brookwood Memorial honours 199 Canadian servicemen and women. The memorial was placed within a military cemetery near the theatre of operations.[6]

The nearby Brookwood (Russia) Memorial was erected in 1983 and commemorates forces of the British Commonwealth who died in Russia in World War I and World War II.

Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial[]

World War I Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial, within the grounds of Brookwood Cemetery

This 4.5-acre (1.8 ha) site lies to the west of the civilian cemetery. It contains the graves of 468 American military dead and a further 563 with no known grave are commemorated. It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Close by are military cemeteries and monuments of the British Commonwealth and other allied nations.[7][8]

Notable graves[]

(Arranged in order of date-of-death)

  • Dr. Robert Knox (1791–1862), notable anatomist and racial theorist involved with the Burke and Hare murders.[9]
  • Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891), atheist and political activist[10] and his daughter Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner (1858–1935), peace activist, author, atheist and freethinker
  • Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke (1811–1892), Statesman
  • Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner (1840–1899), Anglo-Hungarian orientalist[11]
  • Alexander William Williamson (1824–1904), chemical theorist, originator of the Williamson ether synthesis, and head of the chemistry department at University College, London
  • Jamsetji Tata (1839–1904), Indian Industrialist and Founder of Tata Group
  • Ross Lowis Mangles (1833–1905), the first civilian to be awarded the VC[12] and one of 12 holders of the same award who are buried in the cemetery
  • Dugald Drummond (1840–1912), Scottish locomotive engineer
  • Allan Octavian Hume (6 June 1829 - 31 July 1912), Founder of Indian National Congress, civil servant, political reformer and amateur ornithologist and horticulturalist in British India
  • Bernhard Wise (1858–1916), Australian politician
  • Sir Ratanji Tata (1871–1918), Indian businessman and philanthropist
  • Edith Thompson (1893–1923), executed in Holloway prison in 1923[13]
  • John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), American artist[14]
  • Sarah Eleanor Smith (née Pennington) (1861–1931) wife of the captain of the Titanic Edward J. Smith, buried a few feet from Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon
  • Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon (1862–1931) baronet, sportsman and Titanic survivor[15]
  • Sir Dorabji Tata (1859–1932), Indian philanthropist
  • Field Marshal Sir William Robert Robertson, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DSO (1860–1933), Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) during the First World War.
  • Marmaduke Pickthall (1875–1936), Western Islamic scholar
  • Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1872–1953), a translator of the Quran
  • Wing Commander Forest "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas (1902–1964), World War II Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent
  • Said Bin Taimur (1910–1972), Sultan of Muscat and Oman 1932–1970
  • Rebecca West (1892–1983), novelist, feminist and journalist[16]
  • Alfred Bestall (1892–1986), author and illustrator of Rupert Bear
  • Naji al-Ali (1937?–1987), Palestinian political cartoonist
  • Hamid Mirza (1918–1988), Heir Presumptive of the Qajar Dynasty
  • Brigadier J.O.E. Vandeleur (1903–1988), DSO and Bar, ON, British Army officer in World War II, served with the Irish Guards
  • Margaret, Duchess of Argyll (1912–1993)
  • Idries Shah (1924–1996), Sufi master
  • Muhammad al-Badr (1926–1996) last King of Yemen
  • Dodi Al-Fayed (1955–1997), film producer, (original burial site, subsequently moved to the Al-Fayed estate in Surrey)
  • Ramadan Güney (1932–2006), owner of Brookwood Cemetery since 1985[2]
  • Maqbool Fida Husain (1915–2011), Indian painter

Location[]

Brookwood Cemetery is located on both sides of Cemetery Pales in Woking. The best way to travel to Brookwood Cemetery is by car or railway (Brookwood railway station). The cemetery can also be reached on foot by following the towpath next to the Basingstoke Canal. The Cemetery office is located in Glades House.

References[]

Further reading[]

  • Clarke, John M. (1995). The Brookwood Necropolis Railway, Locomotion Papers No. 143. The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-471-7. 
  • Clarke, John M. An Introduction to Brookwood Cemetery 2nd Edition
  • Clarke, John M. (2004). London's Necropolis: A guide to Brookwood Cemetery. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-3513-5. 

Gallery[]

External links[]

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