Barnes Common Cemetery

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Barnes Common Cemetery is an absolute tragedy. Opened in 1854, it survived happily until 1966, when Richmond Borough Council bought it from the Church with the intention of turning it into a lawn cemetery. If they had stuck with this execrable plan, things would have been bad enough: their first move, however, was to demolish the lodge and chapel, and to remove railings and gates, leaving the place open for vandals to complete what the Council had begun.

Today, it's a wasted sort of place: a few broken headstones survive, but most of the ground is overgrown and seems to be used mainly for drinking and sex. In 1971, a local councillor was heard to say that "I've seen burial grounds at Flanders marched over by scores of troops, but even they didn''t look as bad as Barnes Cemetery." That, thirty-five years later, no effort has been made to improve things is a complete disgrace.

4th November 2005: I have contacted Richmond's cemetery office to ask about their plans for the future of the site: if I get any reponse, it will be posted here.

7th November 2005: A Monday morning response from Richmond! Barnes Common Cemetery is no longer in the keeping of the cemetery office; it is now looked after by the parks department. My email has been passed along, and it is trusted that I will get a full response from them.

Updated 2011: I never got a response from the Parks Department.

Filed under: 19th Century 20th Century London Cemeteries .

One Response to Barnes Common Cemetery

  1. S. Vonk says:

    As newcomers to the area, we stumbled across the Barnes Common Cemetary whilst out walking. It is an absolute disgrace that the memories of the dead should be totally abandoned in such a sad way.

    However, all is not yet lost as there is something rather hauntingly beautiful about this area and even at this late stage something should be done to preserve the remaining graveyard, not as a clipped and pristene lawned garden but as a managed natural habitat that could be a peaceful place for quiet reflection.

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