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Open House London 2020: Guided walk of Ladywell and Brockley Cemeteries including the Non-conformist chapel

Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries are proud to have been selected to be a part of Open House London 2020

On Sunday 20th SEPTEMBER at around 2.15pm there will be a tour of Ladywell and Brockley Cemeteries, including the Non-conformist chapel, led by members of the FoBLC

Due to social distancing requirements  there will be a maximum of 5 people per walk with up to three guided walks to different parts of the Cemeteries, leaving simultaneously.  Pre-booking required, please email to check if a space is available and to book.

All available places have been taken.  Thank you for your interest.

History of the Chapel, Ladywell Road, SE13 7HY

The Non-conformist chapel (now non-denominational) in Ladywell Cemetery is the sole remaining chapel in Ladywell and Brockley Cemeteries. The chapel was built in 1858 in a plain style. The architect is unknown. The Chapel was refurbished some twenty years ago. The entrance gates to the Cemetery are listed Grade II by English Heritage (Historic England).

The Anglican chapel in Ladywell Cemetery was destroyed by blasts from nearby bombs at the beginning of the Second World War. The chapels in the Brockley Cemetery were destroyed at the same time: a chapel serving the Roman Catholic section, and a dual Anglican/Non-conformist chapel.

The Cemeteries

Ladywell Cemetery (originally the Lewisham Cemetery) received its first recorded burial on 29th March 1858. Burials include the poets Ernest Dowson and David Jones; musicologist Sir George Grove and the actor/manager J.B. Buckstone are among other notables. Local brewer John Tomsett Noakes (of the Brockley Jack pub) and house builder Samuel John Jerrard, as well as champion cyclist (on the penny farthing) George Lacy Hillier are also buried here, to mention just a few. A feature is the recently erected memorial to the civilian victims of bombings in Hither Green and Sydenham during the first world war.

The first recorded burial in the Brockley Cemetery (originally the Deptford Cemetery) was on 3rd July 1858. Burials include Margaret McMillan and her sister Rachel, both of whom championed education for poor children. There is a memorial to murdered housemaid Jane Clouson and the grave of Elizabeth Watkins who was a child at the battle of Waterloo.

There are many graves of veterans of the First and Second World Wars in both Cemeteries as well as Commonwealth War Graves Commission Heroes' Corners.

The two separate cemeteries gradually expanded towards each other, taking over orchards which once lay between them. Both retain their own special characteristics: Brockley has wooded areas while Ladywell is more open. Burials currently take place in the Brockley Cemetery.

There is a whole range of headstones, from modest ones to grand monuments. There are areas of public graves in both Cemeteries, indicated by the mounding used to accommodate as many deceased as possible. No grave stones mark these graves.

The Cemeteries are recognised as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation.