Hither Green Cemetery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 51°26′11″N 0°0′39″E / 51.43639°N 0.01083°E / 51.43639; 0.01083

Hither Green Cemetery

Hither Green Cemetery is a large cemetery located on Verdant Lane, in Whitefoot, London, England. The cemetery is situated between Catford, Hither Green, Grove Park and Lee. Next to Hither Green Cemetery is Lewisham Crematorium.

Particularly notable graves and memorials[edit]

1939-1945 War Memorial[edit]

In the Cemetery, there is a memorial to all those who died at their post during World War II. This is situated next to the Sandhurst Road School memorial.

Civilian War Graves[edit]

  • There is a large terraced area which was built as a memorial to the 38 children and six teachers who died when Sandhurst Road School was bombed on Wednesday 20 January 1943.
  • Next to the memorial for the bombing, there is also a grave of some of the children and a teacher whose families chose to bury their dead together.
  • William Hume Campbell M.A (priest), founder and first principal of St Christopher’s College, Blackheath

Military War Graves[edit]

The cemetery contains the graves of 39 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 198 from World War II. Those whose graves could not be marked by CWGC headstones are listed on the Screen Wall memorial in the main War Graves plot.[1]

Leland Lewis Duncan, MVO, OBE, FSE[edit]

Leland Lewis Duncan, Colfeian, historian and photographer (born 24 August 1862) was buried here following his death on 26 December 1923. Marking the 75th anniversary of his death, a headstone was erected on his grave as a tribute to his work in recording the history of Lewisham and surrounding areas. The headstone was funded by donations from the Old Colfeian's, Lewisham Council, various local groups (including local history groups) and surviving family.

William Colbeck[edit]

William Colbeck was born on August 8, 1871, in Myton Place, Hull. He was the second child in a family of six born to Christopher Colbeck, a baker, and his wife Martha. Educated at Hull Grammar School, Colbeck served a merchant navy apprenticeship between 1886 and 1890, earning his second mate's certificate in 1890, first mate's certificate in 1892, master's in 1894 and extra master's in 1897. He was awarded a Royal Navy reserve commission in 1898. In that year he was invited by the Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink to join the Southern Cross Expedition to the Antarctic. This would be the first expedition to overwinter on the Antarctic mainland; Colbeck took charge of the expedition's magnetic observation work.

After returning to England in 1900, Colbeck was soon going southward again, this time in command of the relief ship Morning, sent to resupply Captain Scott's Discovery, then trapped in the ice at McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic.
On their way south the Morning celebrated Christmas Day 1902 by crossing the Antarctic Circle and discovering a previously uncharted island which they named Scott Island. Colbeck and three officers landed on the island where they collected rock samples and had a drink. The adjacent cone-shaped islet Colbeck named Haggitt's Pillar, after his mother's maiden name.

In January 1904 Colbeck returned with Morning, this time with firm instructions that unless Discovery could be speedily released from the ice, she was to be abandoned; Colbeck was to bring Scott and the expedition home. In a race against time, and with a fortunate shift in ice conditions, Discovery was freed and sailed safely home.

Thereafter Colbeck made no further Antarctic ventures but resumed his job with the Wilson line in Hull. In 1914 he went to work for the United Shipping Company of London, ultimately becoming their Marine Superintendent. The family moved to London, living at 51 Inchmery Road, Catford. Captain Colbeck became a founder member of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. In 1930 he was elected President of the Antarctic Club but died suddenly later that year. He is buried in Hither Green Cemetery.

William Colbeck married Edith Robinson and they had four sons. One of these, William Robinson Colbeck (1906–86), joined the British Australia and New Zealand Antarctic Expeditions of 1929-1931 as second officer and navigator in the old Discovery. He was responsible for much of the charting during the two voyages and the Colbeck Archipelago off the Mawson Coast is named after him.

Transport links[edit]


Hither Green Cemetery and Lewisham Crematorium is best served by the 284 bus route from Grove Park or Lewisham, Ladywell and Catford.

They are also served by the London Buses route 124 bus route from Eltham, Middle Park and Downham or Catford.


The cemetery and crematorium is within walking distance of Hither Green station and Grove Park station.

Alternatively, 284 bus links Grove Park station with the cemetery and crematorium and the 284 and 124 bus routes link Catford station and Catford Bridge station with the cemetery and crematorium.


  1. ^ Reading Room Manchester. "CWGC - Cemetery Details". cwgc.org. 

External links[edit]