Today’s Ladywell Cemetery in Lewisham was first called Lewisham Cemetery. The Cemetery ‘…was opened by Lewisham Burial Board on a plot of agricultural land purchased from the Trustees of the Earl of Dartmouth. A competition to design the cemetery was won by Messrs Tinkler and Morphew, who were also appointed by Deptford Burial Board who had bought a plot of adjacent land for its own cemetery. ( London Gardens Online)
A low wall separated the two until c.1948, which is traceable as a bank. A central strip of land between the two [marked as ‘Nursery’ on the 1895 map?] had been purchased by Ladywell Burial Board for eventual expansion and Ladywell Cemetery was extended here in the early C20th. In 1965 both cemeteries came under the new London Borough of Lewisham but retain separate records. Ladywell Cemetery was less densely planted than its neighbour, which generally has grander monuments, but Ladywell retains its chapel…’.
Ladywell Cemetery today
From the entrance of Ladywell Cemetery in Lewisham a tarred road leads to the Cross of Sacrifice which commemorates those killed or missing in WWI, and the Non-Conformist Mortuary Chapel. The Church of England Chapel has gone, and I couldn’t find any trace on the ground.
War memorials & graves
There are war graves in this cemetery as well; 226 war graves from World War I and 18 from World War II. I believe the War Graves Commission erected and maintains this group of gravestones alongside Brockley Grove. There is also a memorial to civilians killed in Hither Green and Sydenham by bombs in WWI. And, as in Brockley Cemetery, you can find War Graves (Kipling Stones) throughout the cemetery.
I am not entirely clear about the square in the map above which just south of the ‘Nursery’ on the map of 1895 – is this part of Brockley or Ladywell? On the ground it is heavily treed and overgrown, which seems to indicate Brockley, and the shape is not clear.
Trees in the cemetery
Ladywell Cemetery is not as densely treed as Brockley Cemetery and so rather more bleak.The site of the wall which used to divided the two cemeteries, now a bank, is I think very clear from the Ladywell Cemetery side. It is also clear from the Brockley Cemetery side, where there is a paved path and a line of large trees. This part of the cemetery is heavily treed but beyond this it is more open, and so rather less like woodland, or garden.
These two cemeteries, Ladywell Cemetery in Lewisham and Brockley Cemetery, are very beautiful. On both occasions when I visited I found people walking through the cemetery, sometimes with children, sometimes alone. It is worth coming here, and lingering.