Brian Parsons 2016

Independent researcher

A tale of two cemeteries: securing new burial space in London during the interwar period

The expansion of London during the early part of the nineteenth century prompted the opening of the first wave of proprietary cemeteries such as Kensal Green, Highgate and Abney Park. These were followed by Burial Board cemeteries established under the Burial Acts 1852 and 1853, along with a further raft of private burial grounds in the 1870s. However, after intensive usage for around sixty to seventy years it would be the interwar period when a third wave would emerge as burial grounds were nearing capacity; between 1918 and 1939 eleven cemeteries opened in the London area. Securing land and establishing new provision was, however, a complex, time-consuming and costly task. Using Gunnersbury and Paddington Mill Hill Cemeteries as case studies, after outlining the events between identifying the need and accepting instructions for the first burial, this paper highlights some of the issues facing local authorities seeking to provide new burial space.


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