During the nineteenth century a number of schemes for burying the dead away from
the metropolis were proposed. The only one to be realised was Brookwood.
The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company acquired 2,200 acres of
heathland at Woking from Lord Onslow and engaged the London architect Sydney
Smirke to lay out the 500 acres. The cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of
Winchester on 7 November 1854.
As the cemetery was 25 miles from London, the most convenient form of transport
was by rail and the London and South Western Railway was engaged to convey
coffins and mourners from a private station in York Street at Waterloo. At the
cemetery the funeral trains ran along a private track either to the North
Station adjacent to the Non-conformist chapel or the South Station beside the
Anglican chapel. In 1902 a new station opened at 121 Westminster Bridge Road but
after sustaining major damage in 1941 the funeral trains ceased, although the
station entrance survives along with the platforms in the cemetery.
Landscaping at Brookwood involved the use of giant sequoias planted among bold
avenues of monkey puzzle, cedar, bay, laurel and rhododendron. Over time the
landscape has developed to include elements of deciduous park-like planting, a
lawn cemetery (in the military sections), and a forest cemetery (in the Glades
of Remembrance). Overall, Brookwood has a funereal landscape of great variety,
spaciousness and grandeur.
The extensive military cemeteries were laid out in 1917-18 and are now
administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Brookwood Memorial
was inaugurated by the Queen in October 1958. There are also sections for
American, Belgian, Canadian, Czechoslovakian, French, Italian and Polish war
Brookwood remains an operational cemetery and is still privately owned.
S Alban the Martyr Holborn Burial Ground
Entry to the site is through a lych gate off St Markís Avenue. In the centre of
the plot is a large Calvary. The row immediately in front of the Calvary is
reserved for priests who have served St Albanís. Here can be found Frs
Macknonochie, Stanton, Dolling, Suckling, Priest and also Bishop Brian Masters
who had a long connection with the parish. The remaining part of the ground is
taken up with the graves of parishioners including air raid victims. At the rear
of the burial ground is a section for the interment of ashes.
The Burial Society
Since December 1866 S Albanís Holborn has had an arrangement with the cemetery
for burials in the Churchís own ground.
Membership of the Burial Society is open to any parishioner, member or supporter
of S Albanís congregation.
Members pay a one-off fee which provides entitlement to be buried in the burial
ground. The fee contributes towards the maintenance of the burial ground.
Membership does not include the purchase of a grave. Pre-purchase of a grave
space must be arranged through the cemetery office (see overleaf).
Alternatively, a grave can be purchased at the time of death by the executor or
next of kin. Application to place a memorial on a grave must also be made to the
The Burial Society organises services at Brookwood in spring and autumn each
year. The service commences at noon with the Angelus followed by mass and
sprinkling of the graves with holy water. The visit also provides an opportunity
to bury the ashes of members of the Burial Society, although this can take place
on other occasions.
The Burial Society has a yearly meeting for members. Dates of the visits to
Brookwood and of the meeting are announced in The Bourne Echo, the yearly
calendar and also on the parish website.
To become a member of the Burial Society, please click on the
Membership Form button at the top of this page and send the completed form to the secretary together with the membership fee.
Also available is a form for
Mel & Erkin Guney (Directors of Brookwood Cemetery Ltd) with Fr Howard and John
Clarke (author of Londonís Necropolis A
Guide to Brookwood Cemetery) beside the refixed and cleaned memorials
on the graves of Fr Stanton and Fr Mackonochie. (17 May 2008)
How to get there:
Brookwood cemetery is served by regular trains from Waterloo. The journey
takes around 45 minutes. Train times can be found at
www.southwesttrains.co.uk/SWTrains. The S Albanís Burial Ground is off St
Markís Avenue, near the Ring at the far side of the Cemetery from the station.
Visitors are encouraged to consult the map from the cemeteryís website (see
below). There is a plan of the cemetery near the entrance to the cemetery from
the London platform at Brookwood station.
The cemetery office is located at Glades House Cemetery Pales Pirbright Road
Brookwood Woking Surrey GU24 0BL
Tel: 01483 472222
A map of the cemetery can be downloaded from the cemeteryís website:
For information about The Brookwood Cemetery Society see:
Books about the Cemetery:
Clarke JM (2004) Londonís Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery Sutton
Clarke JM (2006) The Brookwood Necropolis Railway Fourth Edition Oakwood Press
For further information about the Burial Society contact:
S Albanís Holborn Burial Society
c/o The Clergy House
18 Brooke Street
Images courtesy of Brookwood Cemetery Society, John Clarke and S. Albanís