Most cemeteries are still in use and we are heavily reliant on Victorian cemetery provision. The Ministry of Justice survey of 2006 included information on 1,416 cemeteries in England. The survey found that 80 per cent of these were open (with twenty or more new graves available for burial) and a further 11 per cent were open but limited (with fewer than twenty new graves available). Seventy-five per cent of cemeteries established between 1851 and 1914 period were still being used.
Many cemeteries that are not able to provide new graves are continuing to inter in family graves. Up to 60 per cent of burials are ‘reopens’, that is, burial in space within existing family graves.
The majority of England’s historically and ecologically important cemetery landscapes are located within working cemeteries.
The 1994 Cemetery Research Group report, The Management of Old Cemetery Land: Now and the Future, remains the only report that has looked specifically at long-term management issues in English cemeteries. This text is now out of print but is often available second-hand.
Dunk, J. and Rugg, J. (1994) The Management of Old Cemetery Land: Now and the Future, Crayford: Shaw and Sons.