The moment of my greatness, Flickr
Cemetery Archives: East Sheen and Richmond Cemeteries
East Sheen and Richmond Cemeteries were established separately, and have existed back-to-back for over a century. Richmond Council has now started managing them as one establishment, so I am also treating them as a single cemetery from now on.
Bizarrely, I can't even find a reliable date for the opening of East Sheen Cemetery: Richmond Council's website says 1905, Meller says 1906, but the date on the gate is 1903. If anyone can shed any light, please leave a comment.
The East Sheen end of things remains the more interesting. The pretty, 13th century-style chapel is the only one in either cemetery and is used for all funeral services held here. Walking up towards it from the entrance on King's Ride, you'll pass many of the more interesting monuments: the yellow stone grave of actor Roy Kinnear with its moving tribute from his wife, the stepped gates of the Mawhinney family (there are a number of smaller examples of this kind of monument, which I've never seen anywhere else), and - just off to the right - the seated soldier on the grave of William Rennie-O'Mahony of the King's African Rifles.
All of these are quite literally dwarfed, though, by the enormous bronze angel, monument to George William Lancaster and his wife Louisa. The Lancasters were a northern family who made their money in coal-mining, and the sculpture is by Sydney March.
Walking uphill past the chapel, don't miss the silver-painted wooden dolphins: they're suffering quite badly from (I think) water damage, and may not last much longer.
Off to the right is where the Richmond part of the cemetery begins. This is dominated by war graves: the South African section, with a cenotaph-like memorial by Lutyens, and the memorial to those who've died in the Star and Garter home for disabled service personnel nearby. Further down the hill, Richmond Cemetery tails off into modern burials, with the usual back-to-back rows of stones, leaving a nice wide path for council mowers to cut. It's a rather mundane end to an otherwise rather lovely place.
Visiting: Richmond station and then the 493 bus which stops near the King's Ride entrance to East Sheen. Alternatively, North Sheen rail station is walking distance. Nobody bats an eyelid at photographers. Has toilets by the King's Ride gate.
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