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Cemetery tour at 2pm on Sunday 17th October led by Jeff Hart

Jeff Hart will be leading a General Tour of the Cemeteries on Sunday 17th October, starting at the Ladywell gate at 2pm. Find out about some of the "residents" as well as a bit of nature in the two Cemeteries as Jeff takes a circular tour.

All are welcome!


There will be a guided walk 'Lockdown Luminaries' on Sunday 26th September 14.30 -16.30

Meet Ladywell Cemetery Main Entrance 10 minutes before start

Mike Guilfoyle: Vice-Chair of Foblc will lead this free guided walk through both cemeteries stopping at recently discovered graves of historical significance, including those of artists, musicians, submariners and tragic love stories!

All welcome

Officers and sailors of the Polish Navy submarine Sokół (Falcon) with the Jolly Roger on which their exploits are recorded. Lieutenant Borys Karnicki Commanding Officer of the ship, third from the left.
Photograph taken at Greenock, July 1942. (source: Imperial War Museum)

Gus Manning - German and US Soccer Star's family grave found in Ladywell cemetery

Dr 'Gus' Manning

Finding the graves of long lost luminaries buried in Brockley and Ladywell cemeteries has kept me busily engaged over periods of enforced Covid lockdown when headstone searches have not always been possible. But as all cemetery burials are now digitised (1858-1999) and available to view via the website (there is a small fee for accessing actual burial documents) I have been keenly collating a wishlist of lost cemetery lives, particularly those of more enduring historic merit, deserving of greater public attention, with a view to publishing a short book, teasingly entitled 'Lockdown Luminaries'-

Of course, some of those interred in the cemeteries have more famous offspring who are buried elsewhere. One such individual was Lewisham born Gustav Randolp Manning ( b.1873) He was one of four sons of Wolfgang Gustav Mannheimer, a Jewish merchant originally from Königsberg in East Prussia.  Gustav sold his company (the family address was High road, Lewisham) in the early 1880s and moved to Berlin, having anglicized the family name to 'Manning'. In Berlin, he joined the Berlin Cricket Club, at the time cricket and football were played with equal enthusiasm and Gustav played football in various Berlin clubs as a striker, including from 1893 for VfB Pankow, where he made friends with a teammate called Franz John who founded a club called Bayern Munich!

Meanwhile, he had qualified as a doctor in 1898 and worked at a clinic in Strasbourg. Despite his British passport, he became the first secretary of the DFB (German Football Association in 1900) and was responsible for drafting the association's statutes based on the English model. He emigrated to the USA and anglicised his name even further as Dr G (or Gus) Randolph Manning. He continued to be heavily involved in soccer and in 1913 he was the driving force behind the foundation of the United States Football Association and was elected its first president. He also developed his medical career and was an eminent gastroenterologist in New York, while serving in the US Army reserves as Colonel.

His commitment to football remained undimmed and in 1948, he was the first American to be elected to the FIFA Executive Committee. He attended the 1950 FIFA Congress, and died in 1953. Gustav Manning is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (United States military cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia,  which lies across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., in whose 639 acres the dead from all US conflicts, beginning with the American Civil War are buried). Gustav was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950.

Gustav Manning (Front row, 2nd from right) with Frieburg FC c.1898.

Sport Historian Dr. Kevin Tallec Marston's 2018 lecture on Gustav Manning, G. Randolph Manning, US Soccer’s 1st President, is available to view on You Tube

One of Gustav's brothers Phillip Manning (1869-1951) became a successful actor in the German cinema.

Phillip Manning (1869-1951)

Phillip was educated in Germany and on stage from 1896 and was noted as a prolific interpreter of roles by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Schiller and Goethe on the stages of Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin. He appeared in German films of the 1920's and 30's, latterly often used for Nazi propaganda purposes and as adviser on English language versions of German films. He was also often associated with the films of Harry Piel (who acted with Marlene Dietrich).

Intriguingly a third brother, Frederick J. Manning, was interned at Ruhleben prison camp (nr, Berlin, Germany) during World War One. Inline image

The remarkable story of the prisoners survival and escape  'The Ruhleben Football Association' was the subject of Paul Brown's best selling 2020 book.

Fred. Manning (Barrack 10 Ruhleben) was the editor of the first German lawn tennis and golfing journal. His name appeared in a 1894 directory for Lewisham as "Manning, Fredk. J, 34 Wisteria Road, Lewisham.

Their mother, Ulrike Christina Mannheimer (d.1883) is buried in Ladywell cemetery.

Article by Mike Guilfoyle -Vice-Chair : Friends of Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries.

Elizabeth Colgate (1834-1918) pacifist and anti-slavery campaigner

On the Ladywell entrance path to the dissenters chapel in Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries stands the headstone of Elizabeth Colgate. It can be seen from the main path towards the left just before you reach the chapel. 

The headstone commemorates a remarkable political and social activist of the Victorian era who campaigned against the key social injustices of the day: war and slavery. 

Origins and early life

Elizabeth Colgate was born 28 June 1834 at Brockley Green Farm, Brockley. Her father George Colgate was a farmer, like his father David before him, and her mother Jane (nee Love) was the daughter of a farmer. Together, they had seven children: Frances (1822-1840); George (1825-1855); Ellen (1826-1918); Jane Love (1929-1892); William (1831-1831); Elizabeth (1834-1918) and Julia (1842-1912). 

In the eighteenth century, the Colgates were Baptist farmers at Sevenoaks, Kent. Elizabeth’s paternal grandfather David moved to Brockley Green and continued to farm there.  His brother Robert emigrated to the United States in 1798, where his son William, first cousin to Elizabeth’s father George, founded the Colgate toothpaste business. 

Olive Leaf Societies, World Peace and Elihu Burritt

Olive Leaf Societies were established by Elihu Burritt (1810-1879) in the 1850’s and Elizabeth became an activist. The Societies were to provide funds for his League of Universal Brotherhood (founded 1846), a global peace movement. As well as advocating peace and stronger commercial ties between nations, the League was an anti-slavery campaigner. 

Elihu Burritt (1810-1879

The 1851 Census show that Burritt, who often stayed in the houses of his supporters when travelling in England, was staying with the Colgate family. This is important because it shows a direct personal link between Burritt and Elizabeth Colgate. 

In Britain, the Societies became a 150 strong national network of local all-women activists. As well as discussing the issues of the day, the circles produced goods for sale at anti-slavery fairs where people could buy items not made by slave labour. 

Burritt recognised the key role played by women like Elizabeth Colgate who were invaluable fundraisers and educators, if not full members of the Brotherhood. He noted in one of his letters that Elizabeth was ‘very active’ in the Olive Leaf Societies. 

Photographic colourist

The 1861 Census shows Elizabeth and Sister Ellen both living at Brockley Green Farm. Fascinatingly, there were both employed as photographic colourists. The two women were pioneers in a new industry-photography- and they were also pioneers in that as middle-class women they were engaged in paid employment.  

By 1871 Elizabeth’s situation had changed. Together with her mother and sister Ellen, she was living at 2 Tunbridge Villas, Lewisham village where she was still living in 1881.They are listed as living on their own monies. It is not clear where these monies came from, but it seems likely that it was related to the sale of the 95 acre family farm bought by the Croydon Railway Company who opened the nearby Brockley train station in 1871. 

Later activism

In 1874, Elizabeth was a founder member and secretary of the Women’s Peace and Arbitration Auxiliary. The Auxiliary was initially part of the London Peace Society. The Society was a British pacifist organisation active from 1816 to the 1930s. 

In 1891, still living in Lewisham, she also published an account of the Olive Leaf Societies together with a letter of 1853 written to her from Richard Cobden, champion of free-trade and peace, addressed to “Miss C, Convenor” of an Olive Leaf Circle in the pacifist newsletter Concord (1 March). She had also sent the same letter to the Women’s Suffrage Journal in 1871 which might suggest she was sympathetic to, or an early supporter of, women’s suffrage. 

Final years and death

By the time of her death on 16 October 1918, aged 84 years, she resided at 39 Wolfington Road, West Norwood. She had still been living with her sister Ellen who died earlier that year on 23 April. 

Elizabeth did not marry and had no children. She bequeathed her estate to her sister Julia’s children. 

As Baptists the Colgate family were non-conformists, Elizabeth and Ellen’s burial place is in the dissenter’s area of Brockley and Ladywell cemeteries.

Like many women, Elizabeth Colgate has been overlooked by historians. There was no obituary in The Times and she does not feature in the in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Yet clearly there is more to know about her. I do hope that other historians will take a deeper interest in her and the issues she engaged in which are still relevant today. 

The Colgate family history is featured in Anthony Watson's 2017 book.

Thanks to Julie Robinson, former Local Studies Librarian London Borough of Lewisham, Committee Member Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries. August 2021 for this article. 

London Open House Festival 2021 - book your tours of Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries on Sunday 5th September

Open House Festival 2021



2.15 – 3.15pm   Short Tour of Brockley Cemetery


2.30 – 3.30pm   Short Tour of Ladywell Cemetery


Both tours start from the Ladywell Cross of Sacrifice




The Chapel will be open and our publications will be on sale

Open House Festival London will take place from the 4 - 12 September with a range of in-person and online events, including guided tours, walking tours, general access visits, children's activities and workshops.