London Gardens Online tells me that ‘…Ladywell Cemetery, originally called Lewisham 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. 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…’.
From the entrance 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.
There are war graves in this cemetery as well; 226 war graves from World War I and 18 from World War II. I believe this group of gravestones alongside Brockley Grove is erected and maintained by the War Graves Commission. There is also a memorial to civilians killed in Hither Green and Sydenham by bombs in WWI. And, as in Brockley Cemetery, War Graves (Kipling Stones) can be found dotted amongst the graves.
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.
The cemetery is not as densely treed as Brockley and so rather more bleak.The site of the wall, now a bank is, I think very clear from this side as well as from the Brockley Cemetery side, where there is a clearer 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 more bleak.
These two cemeteries, Ladywell and Brockley, are very beautiful and not shunned by local people. On both occasions I visited I found people walking through the cemetery, sometimes with children. It is worth visiting, and lingering.