Walking in Grove Park Cemetery

Walking in Grove Park Cemetery was a good experience, perhaps not what you might expect to hear.

History of the cemetery

St Paul’s Churchyard in Deptford closed for further burials in 1858 because it was full and so the Burial Board bought land for a new cemetery in Brockley. This became Deptford New Cemetery which is now known as Brockley Cemetery. However, by 1930 even Brockley Cemetery was nearly full and so the Deptford Burial Board again bought undeveloped land, this time in Grove Park. The Borough Surveyor, H Morley Lawson, designed the site and the second Deptford New Cemetery opened in 1935. Today it is known as Grove Park Cemetery. The cemetery on top of the hill and on the terrace just below is Grade II listed. The listing does not extend to the new cemetery which lies on the lower hillside. The site covers 6.5 hectares.

The original buildings and layout of the of the cemetery are still in place and described in great detail by Historic England.

Entrance to Grove Park Cemetery through wrought iron gates between brick piers
Entrance to Grove Park Cemetery through wrought iron gates between brick piers
Grove Park Cemetery entrance gates
Entrance gates with avenue leading into the site
Lodge at the entrance to Grove Park Cemetery
Lodge at the entrance to Grove Park Cemetery

The original part of the cemetery

The wide avenue at the entrance leads to the circle below, in the centre of the site, and paths lead out from here. Terracing on the hillside, with steps, seats and an ornamental pool, creates a fluid design. The terracing and path curves round the hillside and the seats and the steps create a sense of landscaped garden. I find this landscaping more pleasing than gravestones laid out in rigid rows. I think this area, just below the crown of the hill, will be beautiful in the spring and summer. Thankfully the ornamental pool is no longer white concrete.

Grove Park Cemetery
Circle in the centre of the cemetery, and the Chapel (L)
Landscaping in Grove Park Cemetery
Landscaping just under the crown of the hill for an intended fountain & pool
Steps and containing walls from then hilltop to the encircling path in Grove Park Cemetery
Steps and containing walls from then hilltop to the encircling path
Terracing along the hillside in Grove Park Cemetery
Terracing along the hillside

Memorials to those killed in the World Wars

The 56 Commonwealth War Graves in the cemetery commemorate those service men and women who died in WWII and came from the local community. Behind the graves, the memorial wall lists those who have no grave, such as RN personnel. Nearby is a memorial to civilians in Deptford who died in WWII and who are buried in a mass grave in front of the memorial.

War Graves of service personnel
Grove Park cemetery memorial to civilian dead
Memorial to the civilians killed in WWII
Mass grave of civilians from Deptford killed in WWII, in Grove Park Cemetery
Mass grave of civilians from Deptford killed in WWII

Planting in the original cemetery

‘…to the east and south-east Marvels Wood and Elmstead Wood still provide a sylvan setting. Planting within the cemetery is not exceptional, and includes willows, limes, cypresses, and hawthorn, with floral beds near the entrance where there are mature trees of a wide selection of species, native and exotic…’.

London Gardens Trust, 1.4.2012
Grove Park Cemetery
Oak and lime? tree, looking towards Elmstead Woods
Oak tree and conifers in Grove Park Cemetery
Oak tree and conifers
Avenue of trees in Grove Park Cemetery
Avenue of trees in Grove Park Cemetery
Large willow tree in Grove Park Cemetery
Large willow tree (the Chapel in the background)

The new cemetery

The new, extended cemetery in Grove Park
Looking down towards the new, extended cemetery

Walking in Grove Park Cemetery is a peaceful experience, but it is also humbling to see so many new graves.

I'd love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.