Harrow and Hillingdon Geological Society
The Stones of Brookwood Cemetery
By the mid-nineteenth century the volume of London's dead was causing considerable public concern. In 1850, the idea of a great metropolitan cemetery, situated in the suburbs and large enough to contain all of London's dead forever, was promoted. In 1850 an interested group formed "The London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company", established by Act of Parliament in June 1852.
2,000 acres of Woking's common land was purchased from Lord Onslow. Some 500 acres were initially planted out for the Cemetery at the western end of this estate. As Brookwood could be reached cheaply and conveniently only by railway, the London & South Western Railway was engaged to convey coffins and mourners from a private station adjacent to Waterloo down into the Cemetery. At Brookwood there were two stations, one for the Nonconformist sections, the other for the Anglican areas. Brookwood Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 November 1854 and opened to the public on 13 November 1854.
In 1854, Brookwood was the largest Cemetery in the world. Today this is no longer true, but it remains the largest Cemetery in the UK, and is probably the biggest in Western Europe. Since 1854, some 240,000 people have been buried there.