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John Clarke

Historian of Brookwood Cemetery

Wikipedia Analysis (2)

Analysis of the Wikipedia Article on the London Necropolis Company

My friend and former colleague, Reinhard Wentz, compiled this analysis for me as part of our joint feeback to the Wiki editors regarding the “special article” by anonymous Wiki author “Iridescent” on the London Necropolis Company.

Reinhard’s conclusions should be a warning to any author whose works may be selected by Wiki as the subject of a “special article”.

This second analysis is shorter. It analyses changes of meaning caused by “Iridescent’s” attempts to avoid directly copying my original text and is reproduced below. The first (analysing the paraphrasing of the content of my books) appears on a separate page.

Reinhard concludes that the paraphrased versions sometimes do not reflect what is actually said in the [John Clarke] original, sometimes falsify it.  Some alleged quotes from p.31 cannot easily link to the actual [John Clarke] text.

And remember, Wiki was established as an online encyclopaedia! An encyclopaedia is meant to be accurate and up to date.

Analysis of the Wikipedia Article on the London Necropolis Company

by Reinhard Wentz

“Iridescent’s”  paraphrased sections (black type), with John Clarke’s original phrasing in red underneath. This is just a list of sections taken from only one page (p. 31) of ‘Clarke 2004’.  The paraphrased versions sometimes do not reflect what is actually said in the John Clarke original, sometimes falsify it.  Some alleged quotes from page 31 cannot easily link to the actual John Clarke text.

Repeated takeover bids from various companies were unsuccessfully attempted in 1956 and 1957, until in December 1957 Alliance Property announced that it controlled a majority of the shares of the Brookwood Estates Realisation


In December 1957 the Alliance Property Company Ltd announced that, having acquired over 63 per cent of the share capital of Brookwood Estates, the Board would be reconstituted.

In January 1959 Alliance Property announced the successful takeover of the London Necropolis Company itself, bringing over a century of independence to an end.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}

Having secured Brookwood Estates, Alliance was able to disclose in January 1959 its successful bid for the balance of ordinary shares in LNC. After 107 years it had effectively ceased to exist as an independent company […]

Historically the LNC had invested much of its income from burials and fares, and used the dividends from these investments to pay for cemetery upkeep.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}


Although Alliance Property kept the name "London Necropolis Company" for its funeral business, it was a property developer with no interest in the funeral industry, and saw little reason to spend large amounts maintaining the cemetery, proceeding with the proposed crematorium, or promoting new burials of bodies or cremated remains.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}

[…]  however, the name London Necropolis Company Ltd appears to have been retained for the undertaking sector of Alliance Property. […] it was clear its main priority was not going to be the effective promotion and maintenance of Brookwood Cemetery; nor would Brookwood’s proposed crematorium ever be build.  

The rising popularity of cremation meant the rate of burials was at a historic low, while the Victorian character of the cemetery had fallen out of fashion.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}

[Earth burial by this time was probably at its twentieth-century nadir. But Brookwood’s case was made worse by its vast size and distinctive Victorian character. Cremation was beleivedto be more hygienic […]  

The income from burials was insufficient to maintain the cemetery grounds, and the cemetery began to revert to wilderness.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}

In 1970 Alliance Property sold the LNC to Cornwall Property (Holdings) Ltd.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}}

Slowly but surely Brookwood was left to revert to wilderness and woodland.

[wilderness: see above]

All that remained of the LNC was Brookwood Cemetery itself, by this time moribund and becoming heavily overgrown.{{sfn|Clarke|2004|p=31}


Your can read Reinhard’s first analysis here.