Memorandum by Reading Borough Council
Reading Borough Council manage and control three
Henley Road Cemetery, All Hallows
Road, Caversham, Reading.
Reading Cemetery, London Road, Reading.
Caversham Cemetery, Victoria Road,
In addition we are responsible for the maintenance
of five closed churchyards which includes the maintenance of memorials,
footpaths and perimeter walls.
Henley Road Cemetery
Opened in 1927.
Currently 25,000 graves, (for full/coffin burials).
Currently 3,000 cremation plots, (for burial
of cremated remains).
The cemetery is the current burial site for
the Borough of Reading but also accepts burials from the wider
area, subject to payment of increased fees.
Includes area for Muslim burials.
Currently there are 50 acres in use.
An additional 20 acres of dedicated cemetery
land is presently used for allotments and recreation ground. Within
the next three years the allotment land will need to be reclaimed
and laid out as an extension to the existing cemetery. At the
current rate of usage this will provide burial space for a further
An average of 225 full/coffin burials per year
and 180 interments of cremated remains in both new and existing
Most of the site is free of herbicides and pesticides
and contains mature trees and many species of wildlife.
Large areas of the site consist of traditional
style graves with headstones and kerbsets.
The current burial area consists of hard surface
walkways and headstone support beam.
The site also contains the Crematorium building
with two service chapels. These chapels are also used for burial
The Crematorium and Cemeteries Office is also
located on the site. This is where the administrative staff and
records, including those of the other cemeteries are located.
The area of traditional style graves mostly
receives very little attention from grave owners. The area is
maintained on a low maintenance principle receiving eight cuts
(by means of petrol strimmer) per annum with the cuttings left.
Throughout the rest of the site the grass is primarily cut by
use of ride-on mowers. A few small, prime areas, are cut using
In this cemetery the traditional style of memorials
are generally not too large in comparison to those in other cemeteries.
A small amount of memorial checks have been carried out but resources
do not permit total annual inspections.
Opened in 1843 by a private company. The town
centre churchyards were closed at this time for reasons of environmental
There are 18,327 grave spaces covering 11.5
The cemetery which lies on the Eastern side
of the town was taken over in 1959, by Reading Borough Council
when the private cemetery company no longer had grave spaces to
Reading Borough Council maintains the cemetery
on a conservation basis. The grass is cut, by strimmer, on four
occasions per year and is raked off only if excess growth makes
it necessary. We also carry out interments in existing graves,
there being no new graves available on this site. These burials,
including those of cremated remains, are currently in single figures
The cemetery contains the graves of most of
the historically noteworthy occupants of the town. The site is
of great local historical interest with many large memorials,
two of which are Grade 2 listed. The arched lodge gateway is also
Grade 2 listed.
The cemetery is a haven for wildlife locally
and also contains some wonderful specimen trees.
No memorial inspections have been carried out
on this site.
At the time of writing we are carrying out a
survey of local people and trying to set up a "Friends of
the Cemetery" group.
This cemetery was originally a Parish Burial
Ground dating from 1885. It came under the control of Reading
Borough Council in 1911.
There are some 4,000 graves covering 3.5 acres.
The cemetery, which lies very close to the centre
of Caversham, has no new graves and currently there are very few
interments per year, those there are, are mainly in the form of
The cemetery contains many mature trees and
is a haven for wildlife of many species. The cemetery is particularly
known for the spring flowers that grow in abundance. The cemetery
contains the only natural colony of Primroses remaining in the
Borough of Reading.
The cemetery is maintained on a conservation
basis. It receives two cuts, by means of strimmers, per year and
the cuttings are then raked off.
Apart from the three cemeteries previously detailed
the Authority has responsibilities for five closed churchyards.
No burials at all take place within these churchyards.
These churchyards receive various styles of
maintenance depending on where the churchyard is located, the
town centre churchyards receiving higher maintenance.
The fact that there is very little in the way
of income from Reading and Caversham Cemeteries and none at all
from the closed churchyards make the cemeteries overall economically
unviable. Funding for the cemeteries is subsidised from income
from the Crematorium.
The Cemetery and Crematorium Service is operated
without any contribution from Council Tax funds.
For the authority to carry out its full responsibility
with regards to annual memorial inspections in all the cemeteries
and closed churchyards there would need to be a considerable injection
of funds and staff resources. Considering that there are possibly
over 50,000 memorials to check, with the inevitable work that
would be required to any unsafe memorials, it can be seen that
this is a very worrying issue.