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Cemeteries

You are in: London > History > Cemeteries > Nunhead Cemetery

Trees and shurbs cover gravestones.

Nunhead Cemetery

Nunhead Cemetery

Nunhead Cemetery is perhaps the least known but most attractive as well as being the second largest of London's Victorian cemeteries.

Nunhead Cemetery is perhaps the least known but most attractive as well as being the second largest of London's Victorian cemeteries.

This pleasant 52-acre cemetery is a tranquil wilderness. Its formal avenue of towering limes and the Gothic gloom of original Victorian planting give way to paths which recall country lanes of a bygone era.

An Anglican chapel overlooks a large woodland area. Ash and sycamore conceal headstones, angels and impressive gothic tombs.

Four hundred interesting personalities were laid to rest at Nunhead between 1840 and 1998.

Broken gravestones

Broken gravestones at Nunhead Cemetery

The first entry was Charles Abbott, a 101-year-old Ipswich grocer and Charterhouse brother and the last, a volunteer soldier who became a Canon of Lahore Cathedral.

There's a Scotsman who became an African explorer, another who fought in the American Civil War, an Irish freethinker, a French Huguenot Marquis, an inventive admiral, and a dashing cavalryman who rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade and lived to tell the tale.

Also buried at Nunhead are heroes who fought at the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo, and a gallant airman who lost his life chasing an enemy Zepplin across London's skies.

Among the many remarkable women buried at Nunhead, there is an actress, two novelists, a poet, the leader of a religious sect, and others whose only claim to fame is that they lived on this Earth for one hundred years or more.

One of the most intriguing memorials in South London's Nunhead Cemetery is the obelisk dedicated to five 18th century political reformers who put the cause of political justice before their own lives and became known as the 'Scottish Martyrs'.

Fallen gravestones among trees.

Nunhead Cemetery.

Part of the Cemetery is now a nature reserve, supporting a diverse range of both native and exotic plants. Sixteen species of butterfly have been found and the wooded area provides nesting sites for woodpeckers, warblers and jays.

Today, the London Borough of Southwark and Friends of Nunhead Cemetery work together on maintenance and to make appropriate new plantings.

Volunteers are welcome to participate in practical conservation work carried out on the first Sunday of each month between 10am and 4.30pm and also with monumental inscription recording, conducted on the third Sunday of each month.

last updated: 21/07/2008 at 12:20
created: 10/05/2005

You are in: London > History > Cemeteries > Nunhead Cemetery

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