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Not to be confused with the other Hanwell Cemetery owned by Westminster Council, this is the Hanwell Cemetery on the north side of Uxbridge Road, owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
It's a beautiful little cemetery, set back from the road and reached via a long driveway, so the traffic noise from Uxbridge Road is almost inaudible. The planting is Hanwell's glory: the trees here are beautiful and well-looked after. On a sunny Easter Saturday, I was the only person there and felt as though I were in the middle of the countryside. If you're visiting, don't miss the shell-topped grave of Edgar Albert Smith, conchologist at the British Museum.
One of the problems with tracking down cemeteries is that there tends not to be a standard name for many of them. Over the course of a century, the same cemetery can go by half a dozen different names. Less often, the same name can be used for more than one cemetery. And with this one, both those things are happening.
The cemetery owned by the City of Westminster, situated on the south side of Uxbridge Road, has been variously known as City of Westminster Cemetery, Mill Hill Cemetery (not to be confused with the Mill Hill Cemetery in Mill Hill) and Hanwell Cemetery (not to be confused with the other Hanwell Cemetery on the other side of Uxbridge Road, owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). Westminster are currently calling it Hanwell, so I am too.
As a large, old (opened in 1854) cemetery in a prosperous part of town, you'd expect some spectacular monuments, but sadly, Hanwell lacks many. There are angels in various poses and a few granite mausoleums, but mostly the cemetery is filled with arch-shaped stones and crosses. Worth a look for Jerrard's spectacular chapel, though, which is built on an entirely different scale to most cemetery chapels.
Congratulations to the City of London, Croydon, Westminster Hanwell, East Finchley, Gunnersbury, Margravine, Mill Hill and Wood Green cemeteries, who have been awarded a Green Flag for 2011. City of London was also named as a Green Heritage Site. My favourite green burial site, Epping Forest, also won a Green Flag.
Green Flags are awarded by Keep Britain Tidy, to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country, judged against eight criteria, including being welcoming, safe and secure, well-maintained and - delightfully - having a marketing strategy in place (for those who don't know, I wear a marketing hat when I'm not wearing a cemetery hat).
Congratulations to London's cems winners - all of whom also won a Green Flag last year. Let's see a few more London cemeteries joining them next year.