Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum was the first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. The land for the crematorium was purchased in 1900, costing £6,000, and the crematorium was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson.
Golders Green Crematorium, as it is usually called, is in Hoop Lane, off Finchley Road, Golders Green, London NW11, ten minutes' walk from Golders Green tube station. It is directly opposite the Golders Green Jewish Cemetery (Golders Green is an area with a large Jewish population). The crematorium is secular, accepts all faiths and non-believers; clients may arrange their own type of service or remembrance event and choose whatever music they wish.
The crematorium's gardens are listed at Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The Philipson Family mausoleum, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is a Grade II* listed building on the National Heritage List for England and the crematorium building, the wall, along with memorials and gates, the Martin Smith Mausoleum and Into The Silent Land, a sculpture by Henry Alfred Pegram are all Grade II listed buildings.
Cremation was not legal in Great Britain until 1885. The first crematorium was built in Woking and it was successful. At that time cremation was championed by the Cremation Society of Great Britain. This society was governed by a council, at that time led by Sir Henry Thompson (president and founding member). There is a bust to his memory in the West Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium. Out of this Society was formed the London Cremation Company (which has its offices on the premises), who desired to build a crematorium within easy reach of London.
The crematorium in Golders Green was designed by the architect Sir Ernest George and his partner Alfred Yeates. The gardens were laid out by William Robinson. The crematorium is a red brick building in Lombardic style and was built in stages, as money became available. The crematorium opened in 1902 and was finished around 1939, although since then some buildings have been added. Since November 1902 more than 323,500 cremations have taken place at Golders Green Crematorium, far more than any other British crematorium. It is estimated that the crematorium now averages around 2,000 cremations a year. The funerals of many prominent people have taken place there over the last century.
Ironically, the ashes of the first person cremated at Woking, Mrs Jeanette Pickersgill (died 21 April 1885), widow of artist Henry William Pickersgill, were removed from Woking to the East Columbarium at Golders Green, according to Woking's cremation records.
The chimney of the crematorium is located within the tower and the building is in an Italianate style. The 12 acres (4.9 ha) of gardens are extensively planted, and produce a beautiful and tranquil environment for visitors. There are several large tombs, two ponds and bridge, and a large crocus lawn. Another notable feature is a special children's section, which includes a swinging bench. There is also a 'communist corner' with memorials to notables of the Communist Party of Great Britain. There are two cremation chapels and a chapel of remembrance. There are also three columbaria containing the ashes of thousands of Londoners and residents of neighbouring counties.
There have been 14 holders of the Victoria Cross cremated here, and there are locations and memorials for many other military personnel of all ranks, and from many countries. Largest among them is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial, commemorating 491 British and Commonwealth military casualties of both World Wars who were cremated here. Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, it was unveiled in 1952. Built in Portland Stone with names listed on three bronze panels, it stands at head of an ornamental pond at the western end of the memorial cloister.
A map of the Gardens of Remembrance and some information on persons cremated here is available from the office. The staff are very helpful in finding a specific location. The columbaria are now locked, although they can still be visited (if accompanied). There is also a tea room.
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Ashes at Golders Green Crematorium
Among those whose ashes are retained or were scattered here, are:
- Larry Adler, American harmonica player
- Kingsley Amis, British writer, one of the Angry young men
- Boris Anrep, Russian artist
- Pegaret Anthony, British artist
- Sir Fenton Aylmer, 13th Baronet, British soldier, VC winner
- Sir Edward Battersby Bailey geologist
- Lionel Bart, composer of Oliver! and many other shows and songs
- Eric Blom, British musicologist
- Simon Blumenfeld, writer and columnist
- Enid Blyton, children's author (Famous Five, Noddy)
- Marc Bolan, musician, poet and writer (founder of T.Rex)
- Brendan Bracken, 1st Viscount Bracken, Irish-born Conservative politician, notable as World War II British Minister of Information.
- Bernard Bresslaw, Carry On Star
- Jack Bruce, Scottish composer, musician and member of Cream
- Sir Neville Cardus, greatest cricket writer, also distinguished music critic
- Eric Coates, English composer of light music
- Leslie Compton, English footballer and cricketer
- Cicely Courtneidge, actress and comedian
- Walter Crane, English artist and book illustrator
- Tony Crombie, English jazz musician
- Ed Devereaux, Australian actor
- James Dewar, British chemist and physicist (inventor of the Dewar flask or vacuum flask)
- Edith Durham, writer, traveller and anthropologist
- Ray Ellington, English musician
- Dame Millicent Fawcett, leader of the suffragist movement
- Kathleen Ferrier, British singer (there is a rosebed in her memory)
- Molly Fink, Australian socialite and wife of Marthanda Bhairava Tondaiman of Pudukkottai.
- Bud Flanagan, singer and Crazy Gang star
- George Frampton, British sculptor
- Lynne Frederick, actress
- Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, also a psychoanalyst, especially of children
- Sigmund and Martha Freud, father of modern psychoanalysis and his wife
- Ernest George, English architect (and who designed this crematorium with Alfred Yeates)
- Simon Gipps-Kent, English actor, Plot 3H
- Elinor Glyn, English romantic novelist and scriptwriter.
- Ernő Goldfinger, Hungarian born architect and designer of furniture
- Charles Gray, English actor
- Hughie Green, Quiz show host
- Arthur Greenwood, English Labour politician. (Ashes and memorial, Bay 17 of the East Boundary Wall.)
- Joyce Grenfell, actress and comedian
- John Gross, writer
- Irene Handl, actress and comedian
- Tommy Handley, British comedian
- Robert Harbin, South African born magician and writer
- Sir Cedric Hardwicke, English actor
- Jack Hawkins, actor
- Tubby Hayes, English jazz musician
- Ian Hendry, actor
- Henry Holland, 1st Viscount Knutsford, British Conservative politician
- Gordon Jackson, actor
- Alex James, footballer
- Sid James, actor and Carry on star
- Sir Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe, architect
- Jimmy Jewel, comedian
- Yootha Joyce, actress
- Geoffrey Keen, actor
- Albert William Ketèlbey, English composer, conductor and pianist
- Johnny Kidd, singer
- Alexander Korda, film producer
- David Kossoff, actor
- Paul Kossoff, musician (guitarist with Free, among others)
- Kit Lambert, manager and record producer for The Who
- Alfred Lawrence, 1st Baron Trevethin, former Lord Chief Justice of England, drowned in fishing accident.
- Doris Lessing, writer, 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate
- Percy Wyndham Lewis, artist and writer
- William Howard Livens, military engineer and inventor
- Edwin Lutyens, architect whose designs include The Cenotaph
- Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect
- Wolf Mankowitz, British playwright and screenwriter
- Moore Marriott, British comic actor
- Marthanda Bhairava Tondaiman, Raja of Pudukkottai 1886–1928
- Matt Monro, singer
- Keith Moon, musician (drummer for The Who)
- Janet Munro, actress
- Ivor Novello, actor, writer and lyricist
- Seán O'Casey, Irish playwright
- Joe Orton, playwright
- Val Parnell, impresario
- Anna Pavlova, ballerina
- Don Revie, football manager
- Ronnie Scott, British jazz musician
- Phil Seamen, British jazz musician
- Peter Sellers, actor and comedian
- Geoffrey Shaw composer
- Ella Shields, Music Hall artiste and male impersonator. Singer of Burlington Bertie.
- Kathleen Simon, Viscountess Simon, abolitionist
- Bernard Spilsbury, pathologist
- Bram Stoker, Irish writer (Dracula)
- A.J.P. Taylor, historian
- Sir Henry Thompson, 1st Baronet, surgeon and founder of the Cremation Society of England
- Karl Tunberg, American screenwriter, author and film producer; past-President WGA, West (USA)
- Tommy Vance, British broadcaster
- Conrad Veidt, German actor, following cremation in USA
- Vesta Victoria, music hall performer
- Bernie Winters, comedian
- Maurice Woodruff, English clairvoyant, following cremation in Singapore
Ashes taken elsewhere after cremation
Among those cremated here, but whose ashes are elsewhere, are:
- Stanley Baldwin, British Conservative politician, ashes removed to Worcester Cathedral
- Ernest Bevin, British Labour politician, ashes removed to Westminster Abbey
- Horatio Bottomley, British Liberal, later Independent, M.P., journalist, swindler, ashes scattered on Sussex Downs
- Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner, daughter of Charles Bradlaugh, atheist and freethinking author and peace campaigner, ashes buried in Brookwood Cemetery.
- Neville Chamberlain, British Conservative politician, ashes removed to Westminster Abbey
- Peter Cook, British actor and comedian, ashes buried in an unmarked plot behind St. John's Church in Hampstead.
- Bebe Daniels, American actress, singer and writer, with her husband, Ben Lyon, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood
- Ian Dury, English singer-lyricist, best known for No. 1 hit Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick, his ashes have reputedly been scattered in the Thames, there is a memorial bench in Richmond Park
- T. S. Eliot, Anglo-American poet, playwright, and literary critic, ashes in St Michael's Church in East Coker
- Lily Elsie, actress (location of ashes unknown)
- Barry Evans, English actor (location of ashes unknown)
- John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, Admiral of the Fleet, ashes buried at Kilverstone, Norfolk.
- John French, 1st Earl of Ypres, Field Marshal, ashes buried at Ripple, Kent.
- Sir Edward German, composer, ashes buried at Whitchurch, Shropshire.
- David Gest Music producer, Comedian and Television personality. Funeral service held at Golders Green Crematorium on 29 April 2016, his ashes were later scattered in York.
- W. S. Gilbert, dramatist and author, who with Arthur Sullivan wrote the Savoy operas, ashes buried at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Stanmore.
- Sir Charles Henry, expatriate Australian businessman and Liberal MP in the British Parliament, ashes buried Willesden Jewish Cemetery.
- Reginald Hine, British historian, ashes scattered at Minsden Chapel
- Eric Hobsbawm, British historian, ashes interred at Highgate Cemetery
- Professor Louis Hoffmann (Angelo John Lewis), author of "Modern Magic" (1876) and other books on magic, games, amusements and puzzles. Funeral service and cremation took place at Golders Green on 29 December 1919, location of ashes unknown.
- Gary Holton, actor best known as the star of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, his ashes rest in Maesgwastad Cemetery, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire
- Kenneth Horne, comedian and businessman, star of Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne, ashes have reputedly been moved to an unknown location
- John Inman, actor, star of Are You Being Served?, location of ashes unknown
- Henry Irving, stage actor in the Victorian era, ashes removed to Westminster Abbey
- Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading, Liberal politician and lawyer, ashes buried at the nearby Jewish cemetery
- Henry James, American-born British novelist, ashes buried at Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
- Kenrick Hymans ("Snakehips") Johnson, Guyanan-born British jazz band leader, ashes removed to chapel of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
- Ernest Jones, psychoanalyst, ashes were buried in the grave of the oldest of his four children in the churchyard of St Cadoc's Cheriton on the Gower Peninsula
- Hetty King, Music Hall artiste and male impersonator.
- Rudyard Kipling, British author and poet, ashes removed to Westminster Abbey
- Leonid Krasin, Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat, ashes buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis
- Alice Liddell, ashes removed to Lyndhurst, Hampshire (see Alice's Adventures in Wonderland).
- Vivien Leigh, English actress, ashes were scattered on the lake at Tickerage Mill pond, near Blackboys, Sussex
- Samuel Lomax, ashes buried at Aldershot Military Cemetery
- Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, ashes buried at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore
- Princess Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn, the first member of the British Royal Family to be cremated, ashes buried at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore
- John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Liberal politician, ashes buried at Putney Vale Cemetery.
- Marian Cripps, Baroness Parmoor, anti-war activist, ashes taken to Frieth
- Peter O'Toole, actor and author, cremated on 21 December 2013 in a wicker coffin
- H. G. Pelissier, actor, composer and satirist, ashes rest in Marylebone Cemetery
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, ashes, with those of his wife, scattered at sea; commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cremation memorial here.
- King Prajadhipok of Thailand, ashes removed to Chakri Throne Hall in the Grand Palace, Bangkok
- Wendy Richard, English actress, ashes interred at East Finchley Cemetery and Crematorium
- Arnold Ridley, author and actor, ashes rest in Bath Abbey Cemetery
- Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, physicist, ashes removed to Westminster Abbey.
- Shapurji Saklatvala, Indian-born Labour and Communist Member of the British Parliament. Cremated here, ashes buried at the Parsi burial ground in Brookwood Cemetery.
- Sophia Duleep Singh (1876–1948) Indian princess and suffragette, daughter of the last Maharaja of the Punjab. Cremated here, ashes scattered in the Punjab.
- Vivian Stanshall, founding member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, artist, poet and broadcaster. His ashes are in the possession of his wife and daughter. A memorial plaque, in Poets' Corner, was unveiled on 16 December 2015.
- Richard Bowdler Sharpe, zoologist, founder of the British Ornithologists' Club and Assistant Keeper of the British Museum
- F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, lawyer-statesman, ashes buried at Charlton, Northamptonshire.
- Charles Villiers Stanford, composer, ashes buried in Westminster Abbey.
- James Henry Thomas (1874–1949), Labour cabinet minister and railwaymen's trade union leader, ashes buried at Swindon, Wiltshire.
- H. G. Wells, English author, ashes scattered at sea
- Amy Winehouse, singer-songwriter, ashes interred at Edgwarebury Cemetery, along with her grandmother.
- Szmul Zygielbojm Polish-Jewish political activist. In 1943 committed suicide in London as a protest against international indifference towards Holocaust. His ashes were transferred to New York in 1961 by Zygielbojm's fellows from Bund Jewish Organization.
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