Brookwood Cemetery

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Brookwood Cemetery
Brookwood cemetery 9.jpg
Year established 1852
Location Woking
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°17′56″N 0°37′55″W / 51.299°N 0.632°W / 51.299; -0.632Coordinates: 51°17′56″N 0°37′55″W / 51.299°N 0.632°W / 51.299; -0.632
Owned by

Diane Holliday (2012-present)[1]
Erkin Güney (2006-2012)[2]
Ramadan Güney (1985-2006)[3]
Mr D.J.T. Dally (?-1985)[4]

was previously London Necropolis Company
Size 500 acres (202 ha)
Number of interments 235,000
Website Brookwood Cemetery

Brookwood Cemetery, also known as the London Necropolis, is a burial ground in Brookwood, Surrey, England. It is the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe. The cemetery is a Grade I site in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.


Brookwood Cemetery was conceived by the London Necropolis Company in 1849 to house London's deceased, at a time when the capital was finding it difficult to accommodate its increasing population, of living and dead. The cemetery is said to have been landscaped by architect William Tite, but this is disputed.[5] By 1854, Brookwood was the largest cemetery in the world (it is no longer). Its initial owner incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1852, Brookwood Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 November 1854 and opened to the public on 13 November 1854. Over 235,000 people have been buried there.

Brookwood originally was accessible by rail from a special station – the London Necropolis railway station – next to Waterloo station in Central London. Trains, with passenger carriages and others for coffins and ready for safe carriage by horse-drawn vehicle ran into the cemetery on a dedicated branch from the adjoining South Western Main Line – a junction was just to the west of Brookwood station. The original London Necropolis station was relocated in 1902 but its successor was demolished after suffering bomb damage during World War II. Two stations were in the cemetery itself: North for non-conformists and South for Anglicans. Their platforms still exist. For visitors wishing to use the South Western Main Line, Brookwood station provides direct access since June 1864. A commemorative very short track with signpost and plaque which purposefully gives way to a grass field recollects the old final main stage of the journey of the interred.

The Brookwood Memorial, built in 1958 and probably designed by Edwin Maufe

A military cemetery was added to Brookwood in 1917 and contains some of the dead from World War I and World War II. A military memorial was built in 1958. Memorialised here too is Edward the Martyr,[6] King of England, whose relics are kept nearby in St Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church.

The London Necropolis Company was taken over by Alliance Property in 1959 [7] and the company was gradually divested of land and investments until by 1973, the cemetery was an independent entity. The cemetery changed hands between various development companies in the 1970s, during which time the cemetery maintenance was neglected: 1970 Cornwall Property (Holdings) Ltd, 1971 Great Southern Group, 1973 Maximillian Investments .[8] Maximillian investments secured the passing of the Brookwood Cemetery Act 1975 which authorised them to sell unused parts of the cemetery [9] and a few areas were sold for development. In 1985, Ramadan Güney acquired Brookwood Cemetery from the owner Mr D.J.T. Dally, who was previously the cemetery manager .[4] The purchase evolved from Güney's role as Chairman of the UK Turkish Islamic Trust, which wanted suitable burial facilities for its members.[3] The Brookwood Cemetery Society was founded in 1992 to organise events, promote the site's history and support restoration work. After Ramadan's death in 2006, he was buried in the cemetery and ownership passed to Ramadan's children (by his late wife) and operated by his son Erkin, a director at the cemetery for almost 30 years. Diane Holliday, Ramadan's partner of 6 years, was "frozen out" from the operating company and then dismissed.[1] In 2011, the inheritance of the cemetery was successfully challenged by Diane Holliday and her adult son Kevin.[2] This decision was upheld by the High Court on appeal in 2012.[1]

Brookwood Military Cemetery and memorials[edit]

Brookwood Military Cemetery covers about 37 acres (15 ha) and is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the United Kingdom.[10] The land was set aside during World War I to provide a burial site for men and women of Commonwealth and American armed forces who died in the United Kingdom of wounds. It now contains 1,601 Commonwealth burials from World War I and 3,476 from World War II (the latter including 3 unidentified British and 2 unidentified Canadian airmen). Within this, there is a particularly large Canadian section, which includes 43 men who died of wounds following the Dieppe Raid in August 1942. Two dozen Muslim dead were transferred here in 1968 from the Muslim Burial Ground, Horsell Common. The cemetery also has 786 non-Commonwealth war graves, including 28 unidentified French. It also contains Polish, Czech, Belgian and Italian sections.

The United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial stands at the north-eastern end of the 1914-1918 Plot. Created in 2004, it currently (1 June 2014) commemorates 320 Commonwealth service personnel who died in the First World War in the United Kingdom but have no known grave. (Those whose graves are subsequently discovered become commemorated under the respective cemetery.)[11]

The Brookwood Memorial stands at the southern end of the Canadian section of the cemetery and commemorates 3,500 Commonwealth men and women who died during the Second World War and have no known grave. This includes commandos killed in the Dieppe and St Nazaire Raids; and Special Operations Executive personnel who died in occupied Europe. The Brookwood Memorial honours 199 Canadian servicemen and women. The memorial was placed within a military cemetery near the theatre of operations.[12]

The nearby Brookwood (Russia) Memorial was erected in 1983 and commemorates forces of the British Commonwealth who died in Russia in World War I and World War II.

Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial[edit]

World War I Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial, within the grounds of Brookwood Cemetery

This 4.5-acre (1.8 ha) site lies to the west of the civilian cemetery. It contains the graves of 468 American military dead and a further 563 with no known grave are commemorated. It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Close by are military cemeteries and monuments of the British Commonwealth and other allied nations.[13][14]

Notable graves[edit]

(Arranged in order of date-of-death)


Brookwood Cemetery is located on both sides of Cemetery Pales in Woking. The best way to travel to Brookwood Cemetery is by car or railway (Brookwood railway station). The cemetery can also be reached on foot by following the towpath next to the Basingstoke Canal. The Cemetery office is located in Glades House.


  1. ^ a b c Get Surrey
  2. ^ a b Get Surrey
  3. ^ a b c Brookwood Cemetery. "Ramadan H. Guney: 1932-2006". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b Clarke 2006, pp. 35.
  5. ^ Clarke, John (2004). London's Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery. Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7509-3513-5. 
  6. ^ "Edward the Martyr". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  7. ^ Clarke 2006, pp. 31.
  8. ^ Clarke 2006, pp. 31-32.
  9. ^ Clarke 2006, pp. 32.
  10. ^ "Commonwealth War Graves Commission Brookwood site". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  11. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  12. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia Monuments, World Wars I and II
  13. ^ "Brookwood cemetery, American Battle Monuments Commission site". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  14. ^ "Brookwood cemetery, American Battle Monuments Commission video". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Ross L. Mangles VC
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 48. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 677. ISBN 0-19-861398-9. Article by Mike Squires.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Get Surrey


  • Clarke, John M. (2004). London's Necropolis. A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7509-3513-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Clarke, John M. (1995). The Brookwood Necropolis Railway, Locomotion Papers No. 143. The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-471-7. 
  • Clarke, John M. An Introduction to Brookwood Cemetery 2nd Edition
  • Clarke, John M. (2004). London's Necropolis: A guide to Brookwood Cemetery. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-3513-5. 


External links[edit]