Sunday, February 23, 2014

In 1878 the Cremation Society of Great Britain

In 1878 the Cremation Society of Great Britain bought an isolated piece of the LNC's Brookwood land and built Woking Crematorium on the site. Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan The crematorium was completed in 1879 but Richard Cross, the Home Secretary, bowed to strong protests from local residents and threatened to prosecute if any cremations were conducted.[113] As a consequence the crematorium was not used other than for the experimental incineration of livestock.[113] HP 637607-001 CPU Fan The 1884 trial ofWilliam Price established that human cremation was not unlawful in England,[92][114] and on 26 March 1885 the first human cremation took place at Woking.[115][note 16] Although the LNC was hostile to the idea of cremation,[112] Woking Crematorium was the only operational crematorium in the country.[ HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan Since the Necropolis Railway provided the easiest way to transport bodies and mourners from London to the Woking area, transport to and from Woking Crematorium soon began to provide a significant source of revenue for the LNC. Cremation remained unusual and very expensive; the cost of a cremation at Woking was £6, not including transport and funeral costs, HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan more than twice the £2 10s cost of a first class burial at Brookwood.[120][121] By 1891 only 177 people had been cremated at Woking.[122] Cyril Tubbs recognised that a potential increase in cremations once the practice became accepted represented an opportunity for the LNC.[83] In July 1891 he proposed that the LNC build its own crematorium and columbarium Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan (building for the storage of cremated remains) within the cemetery, with the ultimate goal of taking over all funeral arrangements for the Cremation Society.[83] The Cremation Society were keen to prevent a competitor to Woking Crematorium, and sought to cooperate with the LNC.[83] HP G56-114SA CPU Fan The fares for the transport of mourners and coffins on the London Necropolis Railway had been fixed by Parliament in 1852 at 6s for a living first class passenger and £1 for a first class coffin (in 1891 worth about £28 and £92 respectively in 2014 consumer terms).[ SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan Rival firms of undertakers were not permitted to use the LNC's trains to Brookwood Cemetery and had to pay the much more expensive LSWR fares to transport coffins and mourners from Waterloo to Woking, giving the LNC a significant advantage in carriage to the crematorium.[123] HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan While the LNC never built its own crematorium, in 1910 Lord Cadogan decided he no longer wanted to be interred in the mausoleum he had commissioned at Brookwood. This building, the largest mausoleum in the cemetery, was bought by the LNC, fitted with shelves and niches to hold urns, and used as a dedicated columbarium from then on. Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan On 13 April 1927 Cyril Tubbs died, after almost 40 years as surveyor, general manager and later a director of the LNC.[2] Shortly afterwards, during meetings of the LNC's shareholders on 16 June and 14 July 1927, the words "National Mausoleum" were formally dropped from the LNC's name, the company being officially renamed the London Necropolis Company.[2] Toshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan On 28 December 1927 George Barratt, who had worked for the LNC for 63 years and been Superintendent of Brookwood Cemetery for 41 years, also died.[2] Although the number of burials was gradually declining, it remained relatively steady. However, by this time mechanical hearses had begun to affect the numbers of people using the London Necropolis Railway. HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan Trains still ran to the cemetery when there was demand, but the service which had previously operated almost every day was now generally only running around twice a week.[2] By now the trees planted by the LNC in its early years of operations were mature, and Brookwood Cemetery was becoming a tourist attraction in its own right, often featuring in excursion guides of the 1920s and 1930s. DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan During the Second World War Waterloo station and the nearby Thames bridges were a significant target for bombing, and there were several near-misses on the station during the London Blitz of 1940–41.[125] Although there were several interruptions to the Necropolis train service owing to enemy action elsewhere on the line, HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan the Necropolis station was undamaged during the early stages of the bombing campaign.[125] During the night of 16–17 April 1941, in one of the last major air raids on London, this good fortune came to an end. As bombs repeatedly fell on the Waterloo area, the rolling stock parked in the Necropolis siding was burned, SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan and the railway arch connecting the main line to the Necropolis terminus was badly damaged.[126] Multiple incendiary devices and high explosive bombs struck the central section of the terminus building. While the LNC's office building and the station platforms survived, the central section of the station was reduced to rubble. Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan On 11 May 1941 the station was officially declared closed.[126][note 20] The Southern Railway (SR), which had absorbed the LSWR in 1923, offered the LNC the temporary use of Waterloo station to allow the Necropolis Railway service to be continued,[ HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan but refused to allow the LNC to continue to sell cheap tickets to visitors travelling to and from the cemetery stations other than those involved in a funeral that day, meaning those visiting the cemetery had little reason to choose the LNC's irregular and infrequent trains to the cemetery stations over the SR's fast and frequent services to Brookwood.[ HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan The LNC attempted to negotiate a deal by which genuine mourners could still travel cheaply to the cemetery on the 11.57 am service to Brookwood (the SR service closest to the LNC's traditional departure time), but the SR management (themselves under severe financial pressure owing to wartime constraints and damage) refused to entertain any compromise.[ HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan In September 1945, following the end of hostilities, the directors of the LNC met to consider whether to rebuild the terminus and reopen the London Necropolis Railway. Although the main line from Waterloo to Brookwood had remained in use throughout the war and was in good condition, HP G62-244CA CPU Fan the branch line from Brookwood into the cemetery had been almost unused since the destruction of the London terminus.[126] With the soil of the cemetery causing the branch to deteriorate even when it had been in use and regularly maintained, the branch line was in extremely poor condition.[63][126] HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan Although Richard Broun had calculated that over its first century of operations the cemetery would have seen around five million burials at a rate of 50,000 per year, at the time the last train ran on 11 April 1941 only 203,041 people had been buried at Brookwood in almost 87 years of operations.[93] HP G62-244CA CPU Fan Increased use of motorised road transport had damaged the profitability of the railway for the LNC,[69] and faced with the costs of rebuilding the cemetery branch line, building a new London terminus and replacing the rolling stock damaged or destroyed in the air raid, ASUS A6000R CPU Fan the directors concluded that "past experience and present changed conditions made the running of the Necropolis private train obsolete".[126] In mid-1946 the LNC formally informed the SR that the Westminster Bridge Road terminus would not be reopened.[128] The decision prompted complicated negotiations with the SR over the future of the LNC facilities in London.[ HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan In December 1946 the directors of the two companies finally reached agreement.[131] The railway-related portions of the LNC site (the waiting rooms, the caretaker's flat and the platforms themselves) would pass into the direct ownership of the SR, while the remaining surviving portions of the site (the office block on Westminster Bridge Road, Toshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan the driveway and the ruined central portion of the site) would pass to the LNC to use or dispose of as they saw fit.[126] The LNC sold the site to the British Humane Association in May 1947 for £21,000 (about £696,000 in terms of 2014 consumer spending power),[45] and the offices of the LNC were transferred to the Superintendent's Office at BrookwoodCompaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan 21] The SR continued to use the surviving sections of the track as occasional sidings into the 1950s, before clearing what remained of their section of the site.[127] While most of the LNC's business was now operated by road, an agreement on 13 May 1946 allowed the LNC to make use of SR services from Waterloo to Brookwood station for funerals, HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan subject to the condition that should the service be heavily used the SR (British Railways after 1948) reserved the right to restrict the number of funeral parties on any given train.[132] Although one of the LNC's hearse carriages had survived the bombing it is unlikely that this was ever used, and coffins were carried in the luggage space of the SR's coaches.[132Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan ] Coffins would either be shipped to Brookwood ahead of the funeral party and transported by road to one of the mortuaries at the disused cemetery stations, or travel on the same SR train as the funeral party to Brookwood and be transported from Brookwood station to the burial site or chapel by road. Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan Although the LNC proposed to convert the cemetery branch line into a grand avenue running from Brookwood station through the cemetery, this never took place.[63] The rails and sleepers of the branch were removed in around 1947,[63] and the trackbed became a dirt road and footpath.[ DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan The run-around loop and stub of the branch line west of Brookwood station remained operational as sidings, before being dismantled on 30 November 1964.[63] After the closure of the branch line the buildings of the two cemetery stations remained open as refreshment kiosks, and were renamed North Bar and South Bar.[58] HP 532613-001 CPU Fan On the retirement in 1956 of a Mr and Mrs Dendy, who operated North Bar from 1948 to 1956 and lived in the station apartment, North station was abandoned, and demolished in the 1960s owing to dry rot.[135] South Bar continued to operate as a refreshment kiosk. After 1945 cremation, up to that time an uncommon practice, became increasingly popular in Britain.[122] HP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan In 1946 the LNC obtained consent to build their own crematorium on a section of the Nonconformist cemetery which had been set aside for pauper burials, but chose not to proceed.[107] Instead, in 1945 the LNC began the construction of the Glades of Remembrance, a wooded area dedicated to the burial of cremated remains.[107] ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan These were dedicated by Henry Campbell, Bishop of Guildford in 1950.[107][note 23] Intentionally designed for informality, traditional gravestones and memorials were prohibited, and burials were marked only by small 2-to-3-inch (5.1 to 7.6 cm) stones.[137] Although at its founding the LNC had hoped to handle 50,000 burials per year and even Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan without being granted a monopoly on London burials had planned for 10,000 per year,[42] Brookwood Cemetery was never as popular as hoped. At the time of the railway's closure only 203,041 burials had been conducted,[93] and the rate was steadily falling; on the LNC's 150th anniversary in November 1994, ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan a total of 231,730 burials had been conducted.[99] Even with the unusually large individual 9-by-4-foot (2.7 m × 1.2 m) grave sites offered by the LNC for even the cheapest burials, the site had been planned to accommodate 5,000,000 burials, and much of the land was empty.[23][99] Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan Despite the decline in burials from an already low level, rising land values in the post war years meant that the LNC was a valuable and successful company. In the 1940s it bought out a number of other firms of funeral directors, particularly those catering for the expanding and prosperous suburbs of south west London within easy reach of Brookwood by road.[41] Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan The LNC continued to lobby the SR and its 1948 successor British Railways until the 1950s on the matter of cheap fares for visitors to the cemetery, but were unable to come to any agreement.[138] In 1957 the Southern Region of British Railways considered allowing the LNC to sell discounted fares of 7s 6d COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan (compared to the standard rate of 9s 4d) for return tickets for same-day travel from London to Brookwood and back. By this time most visitors to the cemetery were travelling by road. The LNC felt that the relatively minor difference between the fares would not be sufficient to attract visitors back to the railway, and the proposal was abandoned. HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan Owing to Henry Drummond's concerns in 1852 that the LNC was a front for land speculation, the sale of LNC-owned land for building had been expressly forbidden by the Act of Parliament establishing the LNC, and consequently much of the land not in use for burials remained undeveloped,[139] Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan aside from the land sold in the 1850s and 1860s, and the areas sold by Cyril Tubbs.[84][99] By the 1950s, with the area around Woking by this time heavily populated, rental income from the LNC's land holdings was an extremely valuable asset,[56] and in May 1955 the Alliance Property Company launched a hostile takeover bid with the aim of using the cemetery's land for property development.[41] HP 646578-001 CPU Fan The bid failed, but prompted the LNC to secure the passing of theLondon Necropolis Act 1956, allowing the sale of all remaining surplus land.[41] A new company, the Brookwood Estates Realisation Company, was founded to oversee the disposal of the remaining unsold lands as well as the cemetery reserve, SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan finally formally recognising that Brookwood Cemetery would never expand beyond its original boundaries.[140] The former South station was near the A322 road making it one of the most easily accessed parts of the cemetery once the railway had closed, and the land surrounding it was now redundant. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan As part of the London Necropolis Act 1956 the LNC obtained Parliamentary consent to convert the disused Anglican chapel of 1854 into a crematorium, using a newer chapel built by Cyril Tubbs in 1908–09 for funeral services and the station building for coffin storage and as a refreshment room for those attending cremations.[41]  DELL yy529 CPU Fan Suffering cash flow problems and distracted by the hostile takeover bid, the LNC management never proceeded with the scheme.[41] 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 Company.[56] HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan In January 1959 Alliance Property announced the successful takeover of the London Necropolis Company itself, bringing over a century of independence to an end. 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.[56] HP G62-369TX CPU Fan 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.[56] HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan 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.[56] The income from burials was insufficient to maintain the cemetery grounds, and the cemetery began to revert to wilderness.[56] Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan Over the course of the 1960s most undertaking work at Brookwood came to an end.[141] After Alliance Property's land sales, the London Necropolis Company had been reduced to Brookwood Cemetery itself and Frederick W. Paine, a Kingston-upon-Thames firm of funeral directors which had been bought by the LNC in 1947.[41][141] HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan In 1970 Alliance Property sold the LNC to Cornwall Property (Holdings) Ltd.[56] The following year Cornwall Property sold it on to the Great Southern Group, the owners of Streatham Park Cemetery, South London Crematorium and a chain of funeral directors in central London.[141] HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan The Great Southern Group dismantled much of what remained of the company. Frederick W. Paine was detached from the LNC, along with the specialist division overseeing the exhumation and relocation of existing burial grounds to allow property development on formerly consecrated sites.[141] SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan All that remained of the LNC was Brookwood Cemetery itself, by this time moribund and becoming heavily overgrown.[56][141] Considered virtually worthless, Great Southern sold the LNC to property speculators Maximilian Investments in July 1973 for £400,000 . IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan As Alliance Property and the Great Southern Group had between them stripped all assets other than the cemetery itself and development within the cemetery was prohibited, the LNC had little apparent value. However, Maximilian Investments secured passage of the Brookwood Cemetery Act 1975, Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan authorising them to sell land within the operational area of the cemetery.[141]The former Superintendent's office housing the LNC's offices, near the level crossing where the Necropolis Railway had passed between the northern and southern cemeteries,[142] was sold for office development.[143] SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan Following the sale the offices of the LNC, renamed Brookwood Cemetery Ltd at this time, were moved into a small former caretaker's lodge.[144] With little storage space in the new makeshift offices, the majority of the LNC's records were destroyed during the move.[144] HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan Tracts of land within the cemetery were sold to various religious groups and to wealthy families for use as private burial grounds, and a tract of unused land south of the Glades of Remembrance was sold to Woking Clay Pigeon Club.[143] The masonry works remained operational until the early 1980s, although not under LNC management after the early 1960s, HP G42-367TU CPU Fan and were then converted into office buildings and named Stonemason's Court.[145] Although the Act of 1975 had specified that a portion of the profits from land sales be used to maintain the remaining cemetery, little restoration work was done and the cemetery continued to revert to wilderness. Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan With the new owners of the land interested only in redeveloping those parts of the cemetery not currently in use, the cemetery itself sank further into neglect. The last operators of the refreshment kiosk in the former South station retired in the late 1960s and from then on the station building was used as a cemetery storeroom.[136] ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan Around half the building was destroyed by fire in September 1972.[136]The building was popular with railway and architectural enthusiasts as a distinctive piece of Victorian railway architecture, but despite a lobbying campaign to preserve the surviving sections of the station the remaining buildings (other than the platform itself) IBM ThinkPad T40 2678 CPU Fan were demolished shortly afterwards.[70][146] By the time of its demolition the "temporary" structure was 118 years old.[70] In 1982 as part of the programme of land sales the station site, the two derelict Anglican chapels and 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land around it were sold to the St. Edward Brotherhood, an order of Russian Orthodox monks.[143] IBM Thinkpad T43 CPU Fan The Brotherhood set about restoring the chapels for religious use. The original 1854 chapel is used as a visitor's centre and living quarters for the monastery,[147] while the larger Anglican chapel built by Cyril Tubbs in 1908–09 immediately north of the station is now the Russian Orthodox Church of St. IBM ThinkPad T43 2668 CPU Fan Edward the Martyr, and houses the relics and shrine of Edward the Martyr, king of England from 975–978 AD.[148][note 24] The main monastery has been built on the site of the former station building, while the platform itself remains intact and now marks the boundary of the monastic enclosure.[148] IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan In March 1985 the company was bought by Ramadan Güney, whose family still owns the cemetery as of 2011. The Guney family embarked on a programme of building links with London's mosques to encourage new burials in the cemetery.[150][note 25] Guney began a slow programme of clearing the overgrown sections of the cemetery and restoring significant ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan memorials.[150] The Guney family's efforts to attract new custom have been successful, to the extent that some of the lands sold off in the 1970s have now been repurchased by the cemetery.[150] In June 1989 the cemetery was designated a Conservation Area, and was subsequently declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[155] DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan In 1992 the Brookwood Cemetery Society was formed to improve awareness of the cemetery; the Society holds open days, guided walks and other events, restores damaged memorials, and maintains and improves the signage within the cemetery.[150] While it was never as successful as planned, the London Necropolis Company had a significant impact on the funeral industry, ASUS F80S CPU Fan and the principles established by the LNC influenced the design of many other cemeteries worldwide.[156] The village of Brookwood has grown on the northern (non-cemetery) side of the LSWR railway line, focused on the 1864 railway station which remains heavily used both by commuters and by visitors to the cemetery.[133] HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan Brookwood Cemetery remains the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in the world.[157] Although not the world's only dedicated funeral railway line, the London Necropolis Railway was the first, the longest lasting and by far the best known.[59] IBM 13N5182 CPU Fan While the growth of the part of Surrey around the cemetery was heavily influenced by the LNC, some iron columns in Newnham Terrace SW1 which once supported the Necropolis Railway viaduct and the LNC's surviving office building at 121 Westminster Bridge Road are the only surviving London Necropolis Company structures in London itself. 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