Registered Charity

The FOBLC is recognised by HMRC as a charity, ref. XT38745, and is a member of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends

For all enquiries please contact our Chairman


AddThis Smart Layers

A look back at the tragic sinking of the HMS Good Hope

With the hundred year anniversary fast approaching of  one of Britain's worst naval disasters, there is something quite mournful about the leaf covered wording on the side of the Hawkes family grave a few yards from busy Brockley Road. It records the death of Able Seaman Reuben Ernest Hawkes, son of George and Amelia of Woodpecker Road New Cross, who served on the Battle Cruiser HMS Good Hope which was sunk with the loss of all hands at Coronel, off the coast of Chile, on the 1st November 1914.  The British were under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher 'Kit' Cradock who had been tasked with intercepting a German squadron under the legendary Admiral Graf Von Spee which it was feared was likely to wreak havoc against vital supply routes between Britain and South America.

Able Seaman Reuben Ernest Hawkes Brockley Ladywell Cemetery
Grave of Able Seaman Reuben Ernest Hawkes, courtesy of Billion Graves

Cradock had two older cruisers, HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth, along with a light cruiser and an auxiliary ship, and was clearly up against a superior German force. The ships Cradock had were obsolete and he was up against a crack German squadron that had more armour and more speed. The battle saw both the Good Hope and Monmouth lost with all hands, while the light cruiser HMS Glasgow escaped by the skin of its teeth. Controversy still surrounds the decision from the Admiralty and its first Lord Winston Churchill that they had to take on this superior German naval force. Cradock had requested reinforcements but was informed that he had enough firepower to be able to handle the situation. He was blamed for this naval disaster but was unable to rescue his reputation as he perished along with 1,660 British sailors in the stormy waters off the South American coast. This engagement appears to have been nothing less than a suicide mission and the fact that he and so many of his naval crew died attests to the incredible courage on display on that fateful day.

After Coronel, at a reception with the German community at Valparaiso, Admiral von Spee was presented a bouquet of flowers for the naval victory. In his thank-you response he stated that it would do nicely for his grave.  

A painting; Battle of the Falkland Islands.

On December 8th 1914 the Royal Navy took revenge at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. Von Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, together with Gneisenau, Nürnberg and Leipzig were all lost, together with some 2,200 German sailors, including Spee himself and his two sons; his eldest son, Lt. Otto von Spee, who served aboard the Nürnberg, and Lt. Heinrich von Spee who served on the Gneisenau. The admiral went down with his flagship, the Scharnhorst, along with all hands

The BFI are planning to screen a 1927 film recreating the Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands

Director Derek Shiel to introduce screening in chapel of his film - David Jones: Innovation & Consolidation

FOBLC are pleased to welcome Derek Shiel, director of the film to introduce and discuss the work of David Jones

The third film of Derek Shiel's wonderful trilogy takes David Jones from the Second World War up to the time of his death in 1974 at Calvary Nursing Home in Harrow. This deals with Jones as an innovator and how his work was consolidated both as painter and as poet. The former Archbishop of Canterbury is interviewed and also the critics Paul Hills and Frances Spalding amongst others.

The screening will take place on Saturday 27 th September from 19.00 pm -21.00 pm in the Cemetery Dissenters Chapel ( Ladywell ) entrance to the cemetery from Brockley Grove ( nr P4 bus stop opposite Gordonbrock School).  Doors open from 18.30 pm

Donation of £5 towards screening is kindly requested ( light refreshments available) please note that numbers restricted to 40 due to Chapel size.

Please can you let us know by booking in advance -


On Sunday 17th August at 2.00pm there will be a guided walk which will feature some of the fascinating stories of artists, poets and assorted luminaries buried in the cemetery.

Led by Mike Guilfoyle it will commence from the Ladywell Gate entrance at 14.00 pm and last approximately 1.5 hours.  All are welcome to come along and the walk is free though donations are always appreciated.

Wrenches, Trenches, and Stenches: a public art exhibition commemorating the start of the First World War

Public Art Exhibition commemorating the start of the First World War

Ladywell Chapel hosted a two day art exhibition commemorating the start of the First World War. on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd August 2014.

The First  World War - or the Great  War 1914-1918 was fought on 3 continents and saw 14 million killed and 34 million wounded. This year commemorates the 100th year anniversary of  the start of the First World War on 5th August 2014.Women war artists were commissioned in the First World  War, but had few opportunities to venture beyond the domestic, social, and industrial operations on the home front.

This public art exhibition commissioned 7 women artists to give their unique perspective on the First World  War from life on the front line, as well as on the home front. Each artist produced 3 artworks: commemorating the start of  the war in 1914; the middle of the war in 1916; and the end of the war on Armistice Day in 1918.

Nicky Scott-Francis looked at the landscape of  war based on research at the Imperial  War Museum - particularly the fear of a gas attack. Jolanta Jagiello based on research f rom the Musei della Grande Guerra Open Air Museum in South Tyrol examined how deliberately setting off avalanches saw thousands of soldiers serving in the Alpine Front killed. Elisabeta Chojak-Mysko’s artworks focussed on the heat of  battle so that we should not forget. Whilst Sara Scott told the personal story of  her grandfather’s munitions factory and its contribution to the war effort. Louise Kosinska traced the love story between her grandfather in Belgium and her grandmother serving as Red Cross Nurse. Monica Wheeler highlighted how families were divided by the war, serving on all sides. And f inally Jill Rock concentrated on her German family roots, interned in Britain for their own safety during the World War I.

The exhibition was curated by Jolanta Jagiello and funded by Southwark Council Community Fund. Guided walks of notable graves were also  led by the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries.                            

FOBLC Open Day

Here are some photos from our Open Day on Sunday.  Many thanks to all those who helped and of course all the many who came!  A good time was had by all

FOBLC Open Day
Jeff Hart leads a walk

plant symbol of London
Observing a lovely cluster of Rose Bay Willow Herb, the plant symbol of London

Cinnabar caterpillar Brockley
Colourful Cinnabar caterpillar found on the nature walk

Colin our Treasurer tops up the funds with some plant sales

Inside the Chapel during the Open Day