|Woolwich Cemetery (Old and New)||Greenwich|
Woolwich Cemetery is in two parts, the Old Cemetery to the west and the New Cemetery to the east. The west part was laid out by Woolwich Burial Board in 1856 on land that was once part of Plumstead Common. The walled and railed cemetery retains one of the original chapels and has a number of fine mature trees. Although some gravestones have been cleared, among the memorials is that to victims of the Princes Alice disaster of 1878. The east site for the New Cemetery was purchased in 1885 and is still in use. It contains graves of those who died in explosions at Royal Arsenal as well as the War Memorial and a number of War Graves.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2006
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Woolwich Cemetery is in two parts, the westerly Old Cemetery and the easterly New Cemetery, divided by Rockliffe Gardens (q.v.). The Old Cemetery was founded in 1856 by Woolwich Burial Board, who laid out the cemetery on a 12-acre site, admired by David Meller for its adaptation into 'something like a country park'. The hillside site was formerly part of Plumstead Common (q.v.), and has a number of large mature trees, including Cedars, Scots pine, limes, Corsican pines and copper beech. The cemetery was walled and railed and its original Early English style brick Anglican chapel remains on the brow of the hill but the non-denominational chapel has been demolished. The old lodge of the west cemetery was demolished in 1960, and a new lodge was built in 1969. Another lodge was on Camdale Road but this became derelict and has also been demolished. Many gravestones were cleared from the old cemetery, and the east site for the New Cemetery was bought in 1885 and is still in use. The site incorporates William Barefoot Gardens (q.v.) at the east end fronting Alliance Road.
Within the Old Cemetery is a white marble Celtic cross commemorating 120 people buried here who were lost in the Princess Alice disaster on the Thames on 3 September 1878 when the collier steamer 'Bywell Castle' collided and cut the pleasure steamer in two. Of the 700 people on board only 69 survived, poisoned rather than drowned due to the polluted state of the Thames. The cross was erected by a National Sixpenny Subscription to which over 23,000 people contributed, and the disaster instigated the establishment of sewage treatment plants for the Thames. The memorial cross to Temple Leighton Phipson-Wybrants is also in the Old Cemetery, who died in command of an expedition exploring the Sabi River in East Africa on 29 November 1880. His body was brought back at his mother's instigation and buried here on 7 October 1881. Two recipients of the Victoria Cross are buried here, John Taylor (18 June 1855), and Thomas Monaghan (8 October 1858). In the New Cemetery is a small relief sculpture of Sister Gladys Richards-Lockwood (d.1955) shown with spectacles in her nurse's uniform. There are also graves of workers at the Royal Arsenal who died in explosions there as well as the War Memorial and a number of War Graves. The lodge and toilet block adjacent to the main entrance have suffered from vandalism and arson, as has the boundary wall.
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); LB Greenwich website