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John Clarke

Historian of Brookwood Cemetery

London Cemeteries

London Cemeteries 6th edition by Hugh Meller and Brian Parsons

London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer

6th edition

by Hugh Meller and Brian Parsons

Published by The History Press, 2023

ISBN 9780750996532

Price £25 (paperback)

London Cemeteries is a comprehensive guide to the cemeteries of London. First published in 1981, it has become the classic handbook to these burial grounds. For the purposes of the guide, “cemeteries” are defined as “burial grounds unattached to any one parish church or chapel”, whilst coverage is restricted to “existing and accessible” cemeteries. Introductory chapters cover the origins of London’s cemeteries and cemetery history, planning, architecture, epitaphs and flora and fauna. The book is illustrated throughout with black and white modern photographs and archive images. For the gazetteer, entries are arranged alphabetically. Each cemetery described includes an address, its date of foundation, details of ownership, its size, historical notes, its development, the current state of the cemetery, followed by the names, dates and major achievements of noteworthy people buried there.

This sixth edition has been extensively revised with updated biographies, additional details about buildings and visitor facilities, and a revised and refreshed section on flora and fauna. It also includes entries for an additional 28 cemeteries across London, taking the total up to 154. Over 2,000 notable graves are listed.

The section on Brookwood covers nearly 6 pages and lists 39 notables, which compares with nearly 4 pages and 19 notables in the previous edition. Further coverage of Brookwood appears in the introductory chapters, along with some additional illustrations. Whilst Brookwood’s entry has been expanded, some others have been reduced. Inevitably, in the light of the additional 28 cemeteries in this edition along with their associated notables, some editing of the longer existing entries has necessarily taken place.

London Cemeteries remains an essential source of information for anyone interested in London’s social and architectural history, and for those wishing to visit any of the sites described.

Hugh Meller is a former architectural advisor to the Victorian Society and former curator for the National Trust. He is the author of The Country Houses of Devon. Brian Parsons has worked in the funeral industry in London since 1982. He is the author of many books on London’s burial grounds, crematoria and the funeral industry including Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation During the Nineteenth Century, The London Way of Death and The Undertaker at Work: 1900-1950.

You can read my review of the 4th edition here.

Copyright © 2023 by John M. Clarke. All Rights Reserved