Brian Parsons 2008

Independent researcher

Battle ground for burials: Kingsbury Lawn Cemetery

Despite the increasing profile of cremation in England during the interwar years, local authorities still needed to provide land for the preferred mode of disposal – burial. Those in urban areas with nineteenth century cemeteries approaching capacity looked outside their boundaries for suitable sites. In 1929 the Urban District Council of Willesden acquired land for burial purposes in an adjacent municipal area. Although it was not immediately prepared for burials, over the next thirty years the authority encountered an unprecedented level of opposition from Wembley borough. Willesden, however, was equally determined to realise the scheme. Despite the site being enclosed by railings, the ground consecrated, a chapel, lodge and shelter constructed, no burials took place. By default, the merging of the two authorities in the 1960s led Wembley to emerge victorious; Kingsbury Lawn Cemetery was finally abandoned. Drawing from council minutes, official reports and other sources, this paper traces the remarkable story of the cemetery that never was.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract