Memorandum by the Cemetery and Mortuary
Service, London Borough of Brent (CEM 29)
Thank you for your invitation to comment on
Cemeteries. Here in Brent we have four cemeteries still open for
new burials and two that are closed, although we are investigating
the possible re-use of those two. I thought the best plan of action
is to highlight each cemetery with its potential or its shortfallings.
The Cemeteries are run within the Cemeteries & [HM Coroners]
Mortuary Service and are part of the devolved management scheme.
The staff are all in house after a review of the service in 1997,
the service has progressed steadily each year since having total
control over grave digging and maintenance. The budget from the
council to run the cemeteries has been reduced each year since
1996 and to maintain and extend the services to meet the public
demand, fees have had to rise [see Excel chart page 36].
Rather than purchasing burial grounds further
and further away from the community we serve our aim is to make
the cemeteries truly regenerable and use existing spare space
or by mounding areas where no burial rights exist or have expired.
Director of Cemeteries & Mortuary Service
Alperton Cemetery, Clifford Road, Alperton, Wembley,
Opened during the first World War, Alperton
features a simple brick chapel with a welsh slate roof and beautiful
stained windows. The 10 acre site lies between the Sudbury golf
course and the Grand Union Canal. The cemetery includes a War
Graves section which is maintained free by the Council for the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The cost of a new grave for two is £1,246
with an interment fee of £299, unused areas of the cemetery
were made into grave spaces in 1995 and these are estimated to
last until 2005, because the cemetery is relatively new mounding
of areas where burial rights have expired does not apply. It is
important to note that a section was designated a number of years
ago to allotments, if this was reclaimed an additional 500 graves
could be produced which would keep the cemetery going until 2014
[£772k of income to the Council]. After 2014 old burial rights
will start to expire.
This cemetery is well maintained by three members
of staff and was runner up in the National Cemetery of the Year
Award 2000. The cemetery serves mainly Christian families, although
there are sections for Hindu children.
The Chapel is kept in very good condition although
the decorative facing bricks are showing wear due to weathering
The Brent Cemetery Service has the following
The Charter for the Bereaved.
Awaiting result from Chartermark December 2000.
Iso14001 and Iso9002 assessment in May and June 2001 respectively.
Carpenders Park Cemetery, Oxhey Lane, near Watford,
Purchased by the Borough of Wembley in 1954,
the cemetery is of lawn design with only bronze plaques permitted
as memorials as stipulated by Hertfordshire County Council. The
cemetery has 14 acres of mature woodlands with the Hartsbourne
stream meandering through as a feature of its superbly landscape
grounds. There is a lake and a pond that are havens to the moorhens,
ducks, heron and kingfishers that reside there.
The cemetery has catered for the Muslim community
since 1980 with an additional section for Shiate Muslims opened
in 1999. A woodland burial site was created in 1998. Carpenders
Park is within the authority of Three Rivers Council and provides
Brent with its reserve capacity for burials.
The difficulty for Brent residents using this
cemetery is the distance it is away from the Borough, no bus routes
take you near there and the train station involves a 30 minute
walk through woodlands that are not lit and not particularly safe
for elderly people to manage. It is necessary therefore to visit
the cemetery by car. Attempts have been made with bus companies
to run a bus to the cemetery and have offered facilities for the
bus to turn there with drivers able to use the toilets and refreshment
facilities, but this apparently would not be profitable.
The cost of a new grave for two is £390
with an interment fee of £299. All denominational needs are
met including separate Suni and Shiate Muslim sections. It is
estimated that the cemetery has 100 years of new graves with current
Paddington Cemetery, Willesden Lane, London NW6
Paddington cemetery opened in 1855 and provides
picturesque surroundings for the local explorer. Purchased from
Westminster in 1986, Paddington provides a welcome 25 acre open
space in a built-up area of the Borough.
Five hundred mature trees populate the cemetery
and there are formal bedding schemes and lawns, as well as wildlife
areas with an enormous variety of wild flowers. Two Grade II listed
buildings provide a centrepiece. These twin chapels built in the
early 1850s are constructed from Kentish Ragstone and linked by
Many new graves have been located through detailed
searches in the Burial Registers and further grave space has been
located on a mounded area of common burial.
Exclusive rights of burial are at £1,246
with each interment fee of £299. Cremated remains plots [half
grave space minimum of eight urns or caskets] are available at
£268. The Council's Asset Management scheme has identified
£500 thousand worth of infrastructure repairs to the cemetery.
Willesden New Cemetery , Franklyn Road,
Despite its name, Willesden New Cemetery was
opened more than 100 years ago in 1891. It includes a memorial
for the Civilian War dead from the Second World War; also the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission's graves are maintained free
of charge by the Council as a tribute to those who gave their
lives serving their Country. The cemetery has become very popular
with the West Indian community with over 80 per cent of the burials
coming from that section of the community.
The uniquely styled Renaissance Dutch Chapels
were demolished in 1986, unlisted and falling into disrepair they
needed £10,000 to repair subsidence in one corner. They were
demolished without ceremony without retrieving the time capsules
that were buried in 1891 for the sum of £12,000.
The cemetery has virtually used up all the virgin
ground and now areas of common burial are being mounded by three
feet to accommodate new graves for two at a depth of seven feet.
This practice will keep the cemetery open for many years to come
and provides an environmentally friendly and cost effective method
of avoiding sending clay spoil to landfill sites.
Willesden New Cemetery Chapels demolished in
Willesden has carried out 87,650 interments
in its 109 years of existence.
The cemetery covers an area of 26 acres.
The four members of staff care for Willesden
New Cemetery and Willesden Old Burial Ground.
Wembley Old Burial Ground, [Saint John's], High
The cemetery is around an acre in size and dates
back to 1887, it was opened adjacent to the churchyard of St Mary's
Church dating back to 1846. A War Graves section at the rear commemorates
those who died in the First and Second World Wars. By the entrance
is an unusual grey granite cross of sacrifice.
Willesden Old Burial Ground, [Saint Mary's], Neasden
This cemetery dates back to 1868, the burial
ground is adjacent to St Mary's Church, itself a fascinating piece
of local history, built from Kentish Ragstone it is the oldest
Parish Church in North West London dating back to 938 AD. The
cemetery is reputedly the site of an old 17th century plague pit
and haunted by a hooded monk dressed in white. The Old Burial
Ground also has a natural woodland area that has been developed
with the help of the London Wildlife Trust. The Old Burial Ground
is currently being investigated to see if it is viable to re-use.