• Norwood Forum


Can members of the public visit West Norwood Cemetery?

Yes! Anyone is welcome to walk around and explore the Cemetery during opening hours (as advertised on the entrance gates and Bereavement Services web page).

Is it an active Cemetery?

Yes, both for cremations and burials. However there is currently no new burial space for Lambeth residents, a factor which is to be considered when developing the strategic plan for the future of the cemetery.

How do I become a Friend of West Norwood Cemetery?

Membership and contact details can be found on their website www.fownc.org

Why invest in West Norwood Cemetery?

The Cemetery is one of Lambeth’s prime heritage sites and is part of the “Magnificent Seven” network of Victorian cemeteries across London. By investing in the cemetery, we are protecting it for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. There are 65 monuments within the cemetery that are Listed Grade II or Grade II*, 21 of which are on the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.  The Entrance Arch, boundary walls and railings, and the Catacombs beneath the site of the former Episcopal Chapel are also listed Grade II.

In addition, the Cemetery represents an important green open space, wildlife habitat and a place of reflection for many local people and grave owners.

Who is paying for all the work at the cemetery?

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Lambeth Council have so far invested up to £450,000 to enable survey, design and project management teams to put an offical bid together. The final submission will seek just under £5m of investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, this will be matched by approximately £1.9m from Lambeth Council.

When will the works start?

The project timetable is as follows:

2016 - Lambeth Council awarded a grant to develop the proposed project
2017/2018 – Development Phase:  Development of proposals and Public consultation
August 2018 – Funding application (bid) submitted to the HLF
2019 and beyond - If successful, the improvement and conservation works begin

Will I still be able to visit my relative’s grave during the works?

It is possible that there may be some inconvenience caused, however plans will be put in place to help minimise any disruption and enable continued access to graves.

Will the drainage work affect my relative’s grave?

There is a possibility that you may be affected by this work, however the prospect is to ensure (wherever possible) that areas with graves are no longer prone to flooding in the future.

Will my relative’s gravestone be restored / repositioned?

As part of a key bid objective to ensure the cemetery is a safe place to visit, the project team will carry out further investigative surveys and assessments. Some gravestones may need to be restored or repositioned on the grave they relate to. If this is found to be necessary then every effort will be made to contact the owner of the grave before any works are carried out.

Which monuments are you planning to carry out conservation works to? 

You can view the full list of the 17 identified Heritage at Risk monuments here and the project team are currently in the process of establishing legal ownership of these. If you think that you may have a legal interest in any of these mausolea, please contact the project team or cemetery staff as soon as possible. 

Will any trees be removed as part of the cemetery works?

A Conservation Plan will be put in place to enable healthy trees and habitat to flourish. We are also producing a conservation management plan to preserve the pre-1965 monuments, including the listed monuments within the cemetery.

Will the cemetery lose its peaceful and tranquil nature?

Only activities that respect the cemetery and its heritage will be permitted. The site is a cemetery first and foremost.   

What plans are there for St Stephen’s Chapel in the Greek enclosure?

The current idea is for services such as water, electricity and waste to be installed to enable the chapel to host events and be available for hire. These will be minimal interventions to enhance and preserve this magnificent building.

Why is more nature conservation not being proposed?

The cemetery is a man-made environment and must be primarily respected for the purpose for which it was created - burials. Although every effort will be made to respect wildlife and ecology in the management of the cemetery, not least through understanding and seeking to accommodate wildlife.

Where will a possible new entrance be opened?

We have investigated three potential locations for a new pedestrian entrance:

  • Robson Road: Corner of Robson/Park Hall Road
  • Vale Street: Adjacent to the Vale Street Recycling centre
  • Hubbard Road : A previous entrance to the cemetery, closed in the 1920s

At the Project Steering Group meeting in December 2017, the Vale Street option was deemed un-viable and is no longer a consideration. However we continued to evaluate the Robson Road and Hubbard Road options through public consultation with local residents and wider stakeholders in April 2018. 

Why is no Café included in the plans for the Visitor Centre?

A kitchen facility has been included in the plans, which would be sufficient to service events and activities held at the visitor centre. Currently, there is no business case for a Café to be provided on site.  

What kind of events will be held at the cemetery visitor centre?

This will be up to you the community.  There are plans to provide better facilities for the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC) but we welcome ideas for activities in the new space and will be consulting on these ideas. An Activities Co-ordinator has been appointed to bring new audiences into the cemetery and develop relationships with people and groups who want to contribute to or use the facilities within the cemetery. This full plan is currently being developed but the new visitor centre will enable to us to accommodate school and visiting groups.

What will the Activities Coordinator do?

The Activities Coordinator came to post in December 2017 and has started to work with the local community to develop an Activities and Volunteering programme.  

Will I / my community group be able to hire space in the proposed Visitor Centre?

The commitment is to make a flexible space available for hire at affordable rates to the community.  The plan is to put services into the new centre to enable simple catering to encourage different uses of the space. The project aims to provide a facility that is accessible out of normal cemetery opening hours.

Will the cemetery opening hours change?

There are no plans to open up the cemetery longer for “normal business”. The new visitor centre will provide opportunities to open in the evening but this will have to be set against logistics of staffing, security etc.

Will you charge an entrance fee to the visitor centre?

No, entry will be free to visitors. It is envisaged that most activities held within the centre will also be free but same may entail a charge.   

Will we be consulted again on the bid’s proposals?

Yes. In August 2017 the first phase of consultation on the bid’s proposals was held. To view the consultation findings report, please visit the Lambeth website 

A second round of consultation took place in Spring 2018 and you can read the outcomes here.

What happens with the consultation results?

The project will use the feedback from all of the consultations to inform the final detailed designs submitted for the HLF bid. 

I visit the cemetery regularly, how can I submit my views?

You can complete our visitor survey online, email the project team at norwoodhlf@lambeth.gov.uk or complete a questionnaire during public consultation.

The consultation is now closed, how can I submit my views?

Engagement with stakeholders is ongoing and we continue to welcome your views. Please email the project team at norwoodhlf@lambeth.gov.uk and complete our online visitor survey

Will there be additional parking provision in the cemetery at Hubbard Road or Robson Road? 

The additional proposed entrances will be for pedestrians only.  There will be no vehicle access into the cemetery from either point.  The main entrance will remain from Norwood High Street and that will be the address provided for all funeral parties to avoid encouraging vehicles from the Hubbard Road or Robson Road side. There will continue to be sufficient parking spaces provided within the cemetery at the Crematorium.

I am worried about increased parking and congestion

Hubbard Road: From the design drawings, there will be a 'no parking' zone at the Hubbard Road entry point to ensure the safety of pedestrians, discourage vehicles and the area being used as a turning point. The new street-scape layout will also encourage this area to be pedestrian-focused rather than for vehicles. However, there will continue to be vehicle access into nearby Mount Pleasant.

Robson Road: The design drawings plan for pedestrian access only. Any vehicle access into the cemetery will continue to be via the main gates on Norwood High Street. 

What will the new gate opening times be?

The Hubbard Road and Robson Road gates will be opened and locked at the same time as the main gates to help ensure the security of the cemetery (4pm during winter months and 6pm in summer). 

I am worried about anti-social behaviour at Hubbard Road and Robson Road

The proposals include plans for CCTV installation to address anti-social behaviour concerns and we are also working closely with the local community Police team. In addition, our expanded volunteer resource will assist with the promotion of appropriate behaviour within the cemetery grounds. During the planned entrance opening, we will work closely with local residents to ensure that usage is monitored.  

Are there plans to remove the scaffold at the top of the site and rebuild the church that once stood there?  

West Norwood Cemetery originally had two Gothic chapels at the crest of the hill. The Dissenters' chapel was damaged by a bomb during World War II. This chapel was largely demolished above ground by the Cemetery Company in 1955. The site is now the current crematorium. 

The Episcopal chapel was demolished, except for the catacombs, by the Cemetery Company in 1960. They created a memorial rose garden in its place, however the design impacted the historic catacombs. This chapel’s site currently has a ‘scaffold hat’ to help protect the catacombs.   

Nb: Lambeth Council compulsorily purchased the cemetery in 1965. 

The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery have documented the history of the cemetery and further information can be found on their website

There are no plans to rebuild the Episcopal Chapel at present but through the Heritage Lottery Fun project, there are plans to provide more opportunities to learn more about the two original chapels, their designs and purpose. Discussions are also taking place for future development of the Episcopal Chapel site. 

Am I allowed to run my own activity in the cemetery?

We welcome any new ideas for activities and events in the cemetery but require you to contact the Bereavement Services Manager for advice to ensure compliance with regulations and procedures. Please email bereavementservices@lambeth.gov.uk or telephone 020 7926 4221.

Can I photograph or film within the cemetery?

All commercial and non-personal photography or filmmaking must seek permission from Lambeth Film Office by emailing info@filmfixer.co.uk or calling 0207 620 0391.
On account of the sensitive and special nature of the cemetery, Lambeth Council will not hesitate to take appropriate action in relation to any unauthorised filming.
Photography or filming intended for purely personal purposes does not require prior permission e.g. attending a funeral service or commemorative event. However all filmmakers should identify themselves in advance to cemetery staff in the office to explain their interest and purpose.

I have an enquiry about burials and cremations at West Norwood Cemetery, who should I contact?

You can visit Lambeth Bereavement Service’s website www.lambeth.gov.uk/bereavement-services or contact them on 020 7926 4221 or by emailing bereavementservices@lambeth.gov.uk