Can members of the public visit West Norwood Cemetery?
Yes. Anyone is welcome to walk around and explore the Cemetery during opening hours. Please remember this is a working cemetery and have respect for those using it for quiet contemplation.
For seasonal opening times, please follow this link.
The address is: Norwood Road, West Norwood, London SE27 9JU
Is it an active Cemetery?
Yes, but only relating to existing burial plots. West Norwood Cemetery is currently closed to new grave burials. We regret that we can longer offer cremation burial plots at West Norwood but these can be purchased at Lambeth Cemetery. More information can be found here.
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. In 2022 the Cemetery was once again awarded Green Flag status.
Who is paying for all the work at the Cemetery?
With the National Lottery funding, awarded jointly by the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) and the Big Lottery Fund, 16 listed monuments will be removed from Historic England’s 'Heritage at Risk' register. Alongside the monument restoration work, two new entrances will be created with pathways and walls being repaired. St Stephen’s Chapel will be restored and the cemeteries Lodge will be extended, transforming both into spaces for visitor and community activity. West Norwood Cemetery is also a valuable haven for London’s urban critters, with bats, stag beetles, woodpeckers and tawny owls living amongst veteran oak and lime trees. Increased management will enhance the cemetery’s biodiversity and see more people engaging with nature. Lambeth Council and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery will contribute £2.1m to the project, bringing the total investment to £6.7m. More information here.
When will the works start?
The project commenced in April 2019 and will last for approximately five years.
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 are in place to minimise any disruption and enable continued access to graves. Notices explaining temporary access routes and other relevant information will be displayed.
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?
A key bid objective is to ensure the cemetery is a safe place to visit. This may mean that 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.
Will any trees be removed as part of the cemetery works?
A Conservation Plan is in place to enable healthy trees and habitat to flourish. There is also a Conservation Mnagement 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 working Cemetery first and foremost.
What plans are there for St Stephen’s Chapel in the Greek enclosure?
Works are being undertaken to make the Chapel fully accessible, and utilities are being installed to enable the Chapel to host events and activities and be available for hire. These minimal interventions are carefully designed to enhance and preserve this magnificent building.
Why is more nature conservation not being proposed?
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?
There will be two new entrances designed to encourage respectful use of the cemetery:
- Robson Road: Corner of Robson/Park Hall Road
- Hubbard Road: A previous entrance to the cemetery, closed in the 1920s.
Why is no café included in the plans for the Visitor Centre?
The works to the Lodge to turn it into our new Visitor Centre include a new kitchen designed to service the events and activities held here. There are no plans to provide a permanent public cafe facility at present. West Norwood is home to a wide range of cafes, restaurants and pubs, many of which are very close to the Cemetery.
What kind of events can be held at St Stephen's Chapel and the new Visitors Centre?
These will be a mix of commerical hire and community events. In the Visitors Centre there will also be office/research space for the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC).
What will the Activities and Community Officer do?
They will work 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 - especially during the lifespan of the NHLF project. If you have any ideas for an event or activity, please contact Kim Hart email@example.com
Will I/my community group be able to hire space in St Stephen's Chapel and the new Visitor Centre?
Yes. The works to St Stephen's Chapel will be complete in Spring of 2023 and the new Visitors Centre around a year later in 2024. Details on hiring and using these spaces will be posted on this website as soon as they have been finalised.
Will the Cemetery opening hours change?
No, access to the general public will remain unchanged. For seasonal opening hours please follow this link. Specific events and activities may be run 'out of hours' and those times will differ, and will not include general public access to the Cemetery.
Will you charge an entrance fee to the Visitor Centre?
Entrance to view the proposed new exhibition that explains the history and heritage of the Cemetery will be free. Specific events and activities may be free whilst others will be ticketed.
I visit the Cemetery regularly, where should I send my views and comments?
Will there be additional parking provision in the Cemetery at the new entrances on Hubbard Road and Robson Road?
No. 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: There will be a 'no parking' zone at the Hubbard Road entry point to ensure the safety of pedestrians, and to 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: This will be for pedestrian access only. Any vehicle access into the Cemetery will continue to be via the main gates on Norwood Road.
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 ensure the security of the Cemetery. Seasonal opening times can be found here.
I am worried about anti-social behaviour at Hubbard Road and Robson Road
CCTV installation will be installed 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.
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.
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 NHLF 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, please contact Kim Hart firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Can I photograph or film within the Cemetery?
All commercial and non-personal photography or filmmaking must seek permission from Lambeth's Communications and Film office. For further details, please follow this link.
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?
Please contact Lambeth Bereavement Services, full details can be found here.