St Alban's Cemetery and Burial Society
During the nineteenth century a number of schemes for burying the dead away from the metropolis were proposed. The only one to be realised was Brookwood.
The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company acquired 2,200 acres of heathland at Woking from Lord Onslow and engaged the London architect Sydney Smirke to lay out the 500 acres. The cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 November 1854.
As the cemetery was 25 miles from London, the most convenient form of transport was by rail and the London and South Western Railway was engaged to convey coffins and mourners from a private station in York Street at Waterloo. At the cemetery the funeral trains ran along a private track either to the North Station adjacent to the Non-conformist chapel or the South Station beside the Anglican chapel. In 1902 a new station opened at 121 Westminster Bridge Road but after sustaining major damage in 1941 the funeral trains ceased, although the station entrance survives along with the platforms in the cemetery.
Landscaping at Brookwood involved the use of giant sequoias planted among bold avenues of monkey puzzle, cedar, bay, laurel and rhododendron. Over time the landscape has developed to include elements of deciduous park-like planting, a lawn cemetery (in the military sections), and a forest cemetery (in the Glades of Remembrance). Overall, Brookwood has a funereal landscape of great variety, spaciousness and grandeur.
The extensive military cemeteries were laid out in 1917-18 and are now administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Brookwood Memorial was inaugurated by the Queen in October 1958. There are also sections for American, Belgian, Canadian, Czechoslovakian, French, Italian and Polish war dead.
Brookwood remains an operational cemetery and is still privately owned.
St Alban the Martyr Holborn Burial Ground
Entry to the site is through a lych gate off St Mark’s Avenue. In the centre of the plot is a large Calvary. The row immediately in front of the Calvary is reserved for priests who have served St Alban’s. Here can be found Frs Macknonochie, Stanton, Dolling, Suckling, Priest and also Bishop Brian Masters who had a long connection with the parish. The remaining part of the ground is taken up with the graves of parishioners including air raid victims. At the rear of the burial ground is a section for the interment of ashes.
The Burial Society
Since December 1866 S Alban’s Holborn has had an arrangement with the cemetery for burials in the Church’s own ground.
Membership of the Burial Society is open to any parishioner, member or supporter of St Alban’s congregation.
Members pay a one-off fee which provides entitlement to be buried in the burial ground. The fee contributes towards the maintenance of the burial ground. Membership does not include the purchase of a grave.
Purchase of a grave space must be arranged through the cemetery office. That can be done during the lifetime of the member, or at the time of death by the executor or next of kin. Application to place a memorial on a grave must also be made to the cemetery office.
The Burial Society organises services at Brookwood in spring and autumn each year. The service commences at noon with the Angelus followed by mass and sprinkling of the graves with holy water. The visit also provides an opportunity to bury the ashes of members of the Burial Society, although this can take place on other occasions.
The Burial Society has a yearly meeting for members. Dates of the visits to Brookwood and of the meeting are announced in The Bourne Echo, the yearly calendar and also on the parish website.
To become a member of the Burial Society, please click on the Membership Form button at the top of this page and send the completed form to the secretary together with the membership fee. Also available is a form for funeral instructions.
How to get there:
Brookwood cemetery is served by regular trains from Waterloo. The journey takes around 45 minutes. Train times can be found at www.southwesttrains.co.uk/SWTrains. The S Alban’s Burial Ground is off St Mark’s Avenue, near the Ring at the far side of the Cemetery from the station. Visitors are encouraged to consult the map from the cemetery’s website (see below). There is a plan of the cemetery near the entrance to the cemetery from the London platform at Brookwood station.
The cemetery office is located at Glades House Cemetery Pales Pirbright Road Brookwood Woking Surrey GU24 0BL
Tel: 01483 472222
A map of the cemetery can be downloaded from the cemetery’s website: www.brookwoodcemetery.com/cemetery_map.htm
For information about The Brookwood Cemetery Society see:
Books about the Cemetery:
Clarke JM (2004) London’s Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery Sutton Publishing
Clarke JM (2006) The Brookwood Necropolis Railway Fourth Edition Oakwood Press
For further information about the Burial Society contact:
S Alban’s Holborn Burial Society
c/o The Clergy House
18 Brooke Street