Woodgrange Park Cemetery

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It's six years since I went to Woodgrange Park, and I don't mind admitting I trudged along Romford Road with a certain amount of trepidation. Was it even still there, or had Badgehurst finally succeeded in selling it off? There was a moment of panic when I saw a Tesco Express that was surely new... but then, no, there was the sign pointing into the cemetery. All was well.

Well, no it isn't. The chapel has gone, demolished in 2006. It's been replaced with a pile of debris, containing the smashed-up remains of several gravestones: you'd've thought after the Emmerdale fiasco, they'd have been more careful. But it's not all bad. Maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's the loss of the chapel, but the drive into the cemetery did seem a little less overgrown to me.

Further back, it seems that everything's been given a very strong dose of weed-killer. This is immediately noticeable in the older section to the right of where the chapel was, and in the larger section to the left and back which is now the Muslim burial section. I've said many times, if anything is to save Woodgrange Park, it will be the Muslim community. There are many, many more graves now than in 2005, and I really hope that this signals the beginning of a new era for this long and badly neglected cemetery.

Visiting: Woodgrange Park station and turn left. Watch out for the little sign pointing into the cemetery; it looks more like a car park from outside. Few livings about, even in the recently used parts. Someone possibly official was clearing some of the older graves when I was there. No one objects to photography.

More posts about this cemetery

Filed under: 21st Century London Cemeteries .

30 Responses to Woodgrange Park Cemetery

  1. Mrs.R Worrell says:

    I have just found out that both my Great Grandmother and Grandfather were buried in this cemetery. My Father tried to find his Father's grave shortly before he died in 1978 and was devastated at the state the cemetery was in then so much so he never found his father's grave. Having the informatio as to where their graves were I wonder if I will ever find out what appened to them.

    • Londoncems says:

      This is so sad, and should stand as a real reminder to those managing cemeteries that they're dealing with much more than an economic asset.

      However, this thread
      might offer some help for those trying to find relatives in the cemetery. If you, or anyone else, has an update on what it's like trying to trace a grave in Woodgrange Park, please do leave another comment.

      I really hope you find the people and the peace you're looking for.

  2. Barbara Cornford says:

    My grandparents Alice Ellen Cornford and Henry Cornford are interred at Woodgrange cemetery (in the area on the right, a grave of a young girl with an angels statue stands in front of it).Until my father died due to an accident in his 78th year (2007) he never missed a visit I was taken there with my sisters from when we were very young children I am now 57.The condition of the cemetary caused my father great distress at that time and it became impossible to reach the grave of his parents over time we could only look from afar.Are the graves of our loved ones accessible now so that we can continue our pilgrimage to pay respects to a couple who were dearly love and held with great affection.

    • Londoncems says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Guessing by your description of the position of the plot, I think you may still be able to visit the area. Assuming "on the right" from the gate, the area to the right of the drive is reasonably overgrown but you may still be able to see the grave. If it's further back, to the back-right of where the chapel was, this area looks to have been given a hefty dose of weed killer, so it should be quite easy to find what you're looking for.

      Fingers crossed for you!

  3. Ernie Morris says:

    I am 73 and my son is trying to build our family tree on using burial cards of my Mothers parents Harry Ward, Selina Ward and their son Henry Harry Ward all buried
    at Woodgrange Park Cemetery I thought I could get some information. I was informed that they did not have any records of the three persons even though I have the grave plot numbers.
    I can only assume that graves after a period of time are just written off, if so it is
    criminal in my opinion

  4. Patsy says:

    Woodgrange Park Cemetery was desictrated back in the early 2000's so that flats could be built on the site. The graves of people who had died in the Blitz were dug up and the bones thrown into a communal pit. would be sincerely surprised if anyone could locate the graves of their loved ones now.

  5. Rita says:

    My grandparents Emma and James Streeting are buried on the right side of the demolished chapel. Sometime ago a nearby grave was opened and a metal sheet was placed on their gravestone and loaded up with soil. We have tried to dislodge this in the past and discovered that the weight of the soil over a period of time had cracked their headstone. I last visited their grave Christmas 2011. The area was so overgrown with brambles that only my brother could just about reach it to place the holly wreath. Unfortunately I was in hospital prior to Christmas 2012 and was unable to visit. I have been informed today that the sight has possibly been cleared!! If so I would like to know what as happened to their gravestone. I am hoping to visit in the near future.

  6. Elaine Howard says:

    Hi there,

    I've just found the details of my Grandparent's burials at Woodgrange Cemetery and having read your comments, am wondering if someone could tell me if there's a map to graves in area C7 and C18? That or have any of you visited that area and found it inaccessible? I live in Somerset now so it's a long way to travel if I'm not going to be able to reach their graves so was wondering if any of you could advise me?

    And might I just add how disappointed I am in Badgehurst. They were quite willing to help me but at a cost of £30 per enquiry, even though I knew both the grave squares, their numbers, interrment dates etc. Flatly unwilling to help me or advise me without £60.00 downpayment.

    Can't something in the way of a preservation order be done for this cemetary like has been done for similar period Arnos Vale in Bristol?

    Many, many thanks for your time and any information anyone could provide.

    Regards, Elaine Howard

  7. Jackie Irvine says:

    My grandmother died at the age of 32 and was buried in Woodgrange Park Cemetery in 1938. I have the grave number from a memorial card.
    I am visiting the cemetery at the end of this week with my father who hasn't been here for many many years.
    I will let you know what we find.

  8. grace stickland says:

    I visited my mothers and my grandmothers grave September 2012. The cemetery is in certain areas is a complete mess, however I was expecting this as my father who was a member of The Friends of Woodgrange (look up their webpage0 pre warned me. More of the cementery has been cleared to make way for further Muslim burials at the back. This should be expected as land is short in London due to it being one of the most populated cities in the world now and time moves on. We spoke to the Superintendent of the cemetery who was very helpful. The cemetery has been allocated money to help clean and tidy up what is left of it. There were in fact nearly half a million peoples' remains in the part of the cemetery that was excavated for housing, therefore the land should not technically have been built on. FofW Cemetery did take this case as far as the House of Lords, but lack of support could not prevent the envitable. I was suprised that there is a Muslim area that is now fenced off and only Muslims are allowed to enter the area. I feel that this does nothing to assist with race relations!! Historically Woodgrange has a wealth of history and artistic content with the beautiful headstones that not many could afford to place. I am amazed that it was allowed and has been allowed to deteriorate to such a level. Oh and remember that if you do not visit your family grave for one year and a day Badgehurst have the right to reuse the ground for further burials.

    • Abdul says:

      The Muslim section that is fenced off, not only is off limits to non Muslims but to other Muslims from different ethnicity as well. I think its for Punjabi's only. Far as I know they bought that whole section.

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  10. John Richardson says:

    Can you HELP ?
    I am partialy sighted and find it diddicult to read the comments.
    However my mother was buried in 1965 at Woodgrange Park.
    As i understand the council sold part otthe cemetry to propertydevelopers and flats were built,and mant graves were exhumed and buried else where, im trying to find where!!
    Should anyone knows or can tell me who to talk to i will be much opbliged.
    Thans for your help

    • James says:

      All human remains of those exhumed are reburied, so I have been told, under the pathways of the cemetery. If you go during a weekday and ask in the office to see the cemetery's superintendent he should be able to show you the pathways. He has always been very helpful.

  11. Antoinette says:

    My mother was buried in Woodgrange Park in 1946. Her mother was buried with her in the 1950s. My father had purchased a double plot.

    Upon hearing the Government wishes to change the law to reuse graves after 75 years I wish to visit and see what has to be done to ensure this does not happen.

    I believed the plot was purchased in perpetuity

  12. James says:

    All human remains of those exhumed are reburied, so I have been told, under the pathways of the cemetery. It was interesting to read what Abdul said regarding the Muslim burial area. It appears in every culture there are class differences even in death. Compare the memorials at the entrance of Woodgrange Cemetery to the areas further back and it becomes apparent in Christian culture. Derelict London has interesting articles on Woodgrange Cemetery and other large burial grounds situated in the London area. It is such a pity that unlike other European countries we do not respect enough the beauty of these amazing sculptures that exists in these burial grounds and the history that caused their creation.

  13. Joy Mann says:

    My Mother’s Father and Grandparents are buried in Woodgrange Park Cemetery. In the 1990s we went to the cemetery several times to try and find the graves but everywhere was so overgrown with bramble/ ivy/ nettles etc we were unsuccessful. However, in 2004 we were able to contact the superintendent, who was very helpful and with the grave numbers and squares he was able to show us where they were. We then armed with secateurs/ shears/ weedkiller etc, spent several hours clearing the areas to reach the graves. Since then I have gone annually to clear the areas. This year it has been 18 months and with my son and grandchildren was prepared to do the same again but I was pleasantly surprised to find the areas to both graves cleared (left hand side of the entrance). We just had a bit more tidying up to do. There were 3 volunteers who were working very hard to clear the area, including sawing up a tree that had been blown down in the storm. It has made so much difference, I have photos of both graves taken in 1952 when the areas were clean and taken care of. I was very sad to find out that my other Great-Grandparents were also buried in the area that was dug up and now behind the fence.

  14. Dawn Roach says:

    I am trying to find if my fathers first wife and children are buried or cremated in this cemetry.They where all killed in Dames Rd in 1944 on a bus, my younger brother though badly injured survived.I have the receipt from the undertakers who cannot help which is why im trying to see if anybody can help us.If they were there we have been told they where buried in a communal grave, what does this mean and qwhat type of funeral did they have.Is there anything for us to see as my brother now lives in Norfolk and not a young man, I dont want to hampen his feelings by going only to find nothing there.Can anybody guide me to finding any news or newspaper cuttings of this event or how I can get anything to do with this, thanks Dawn

    • Grace says:

      The information I left for Mavis would be relevant, but if you are unsure of the cemetery your loved ones were interred I would also check out Manor Park Cemetery and City of London, as they are very close to Woodgrange. Newham Council should obtain records somewhere in their archives. It may also be worth investigating local newspapers of the day as they may have information regarding the funeral service undertaken. Good Luck.

  15. Mavis Brown says:

    I was born in Vansittart Road, Forest Gate in 1939 and my father Frederick William Ellis was killed by a bomb in Station Road, Forest Gate in March 1941. I believe he was buried in Woodgrange Park. Does anyone know if there is some kind of list or memorial for the persons whose graves were dug up for the development in year 2000? Also can anyone tell me where I can obtain a copy of the article mentioned in the London Evening Standard. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

    • Grace says:

      If you contact Newham Council they should be able to help. You can also try Friends of Woodgrange Cemetery or Badgehurst Limited who own the cemetery. The British Legion may be able to assist but I believe they mainly deal with service personnel graves. Regarding the article in the newspaper I would email the London Evening Standard as they would be able to advise you on where to locate any historical information for recent history within their archives. Good luck with your endeavors, I hope you manage to obtain the information successfully.

  16. Mavis Brown says:

    Grace - thank you for the reply. I will follow this up in the ways you have suggested.

  17. Rej says:

    Hi I went to the cemetery today and was disgusted to hear grown polish / English men who looked like they were serving their community sentence cleaning the grounds, however I could hear them swearing & making a big issue about a big stone they had to clean around at the same time there was a burial taking place a few yards away.
    One of the men was a pervert and decided to try & get my attention while walking past I found it utterly disgusting as I went to grieve.

    The entrance needs allot of tlc & I think there should be bins around the grounds for people to dispose of weeds etc...

    Would be nice to see benches for people to sit.

  18. Rej says:

    Hi I went to the cemetery today and was disgusted to hear grown polish / English men who looked like they were serving their community sentence cleaning the grounds, however I could hear them swearing & making a big issue about a big stone they had to clean around at the same time there was a burial taking place a few yards away.
    One of the men was a pervert and decided to try & get my attention while walking past I found it utterly disgusting as I went to grieve.

    The entrance needs allot of tlc & I think there should be bins around the grounds for people to dispose of weeds etc...

    Would be nice to see benches for people to sit on.

    • Grace says:

      When I was a small child my grandmother use to take me to visit my mother's grave. I was only four years of age at the time and I remember seeing seating, taps for filling vases and bins all around the cemetery. However I may add this was fifty years ago. I did look for a water tap and bin when I was last at Woodgrange Cemetery eighteen months ago but could not find any. I do remember there being on the first path ,after the war memorial, near to where my mother is buried a water tap, but could not locate it. The water mains must still survive underneath the ground so they could be reinstated if money was made available for this to happen. It maybe worth contacting the Friends of Woodgrange Cemetery via the Internet and ask them if they know of how your suggestions could be implemented. I am sure they would appreciate positive ideas. Unfortunately as for the extremely rude men that were working in the cemetery I will not write what I would of liked to have said to them, but I am now of an age I can be assertive and be excused! It could be worth you writing a letter of complaint to Badgehurst the cemetery owners and the local council. Good luck.

  19. David says:

    I would be interested to know how many people who died in the Bethnal Green tube station disaster of 3rd March, 1943 are buried in the cemetery. One of them was Dick Corbett, the Bethnal Green boxer who became the British Bantamweight champion. He was one of 173 who suffocated on that terrible night when people struggling to get down to the underground shelter were crushed on the narrow stairs. Olive Margaret Harris was another but I believe there may have been others who were laid to rest in the same plot.

  20. Grace says:

    My father always told me that the Bethnal Green Underground exit concerned was bricked up to produce a vault, and the bodies of the fallen were left where they fell. It would be interesting if anybody who visits this blog knows about the history of this sad scenario and if they do could advise. I may go onto one of the London Underground websites and research, or visit the London Underground Museum.

  21. Tracey Jarvis says:

    I have just been sent a few memorial cards from a relative and i have found we have two ancestors at Woodgrange Park Cemetery... Made a phone call and they said i need to send a cheque of £30 even though i know plot etc... all i want is a map of the cemetery, so i can locate it when i go there as i'm not local to it :(

  22. James says:

    Visit the Friends of Woodgrange Cemetery they should be able to help you, or Newham Council. Good luck.

  23. James says:

    Sorry I mean the Friends of Woodgrange Cemetery website, just type in The Friends of Woodgrange Cemetery into your search engine and it will take you to their web page. Good Luck

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