Mortlake Crematorium

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Mortlake Crematorium
General information
Type Crematorium

Kew Meadow Path,
Townmead Road,
United Kingdom

Area: Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames[1]
Construction started 1936
Completed 1939
Opening 1939
Cost £27,000[2]
Owner London boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames
Management Mortlake Crematorium Board
Design and construction
Architect Douglas Barton[2]
Developer Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough Council

Mortlake Crematorium is a crematorium in Kew,[1] near its boundary with Mortlake, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

It serves the boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames in the west and south-west of London.[3] It is managed by a board made up of three elected councillors from each of these four boroughs.[4]

Citing it as "a rare example" of Art Deco design in the borough, Richmond upon Thames Council has described it as "a building of exceptional quality and character".[5] Environmentalist Colin Hines describes it as "probably the most undiscovered deco treasure in London".[6] The building was awarded Grade II listing by English Heritage in 2011.[7]


The crematorium is on Kew Meadow Path, Townsmead Road,[8] Kew.[1] It is situated on the banks of the River Thames by Chiswick Bridge and in Clifford Avenue, adjoining Hammersmith New Cemetery in the angle of Mortlake Road (which forms part of the South Circular Road) and Chertsey Arterial Road.[9] The nearest London Underground station is Kew Gardens.


Mortlake Crematorium was built on the site of Pink's Farm, which had belonged to Richard Atwood, whose family were prominent market gardeners in the area.[10]

It was licensed in 1936 under the Mortlake Crematorium Act 1936, thereby becoming the first to be established under its own Act of Parliament.[2] Designed by Douglas Barton,[7] borough surveyor to Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough Council,[7] the building was constructed in three years at a cost of £27,000.[2] It was also equipped with a Garden of Remembrance for the burial or scattering of ashes, and also offered panels and niches in which ashes could be deposited. When the facility was finally opened in January 1939 by Lord Horder, the then Physician to the King,[3] he said: "You seem to have eliminated the sombreness of atmosphere which sometimes shrouds buildings such as these".[2][6] Mortlake Crematorium's outward appearance changed little over the following years until 1982, when Colin Gilbert, an architect from Ealing, designed additional gardens on the area of land between the crematorium and the river Thames.[11]

Notable cremations[edit]

Among those cremated here were:

Seventy-seven Commonwealth servicemen of World War II were cremated here and their names are listed on a screen wall memorial erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the adjoining Hammersmith New Cemetery.[9] They include England rugby international Vivian Davies (1899–1941), Captain Royal Artillery.[22]


  1. ^ a b c "Kew Village Plan Consultation Boards" (PDF). Village Plans. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. p. 9. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mortlake Crematorium Board – Its History". Mortlake Crematorium Board. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Notable dead at Mortlake" (PDF). Mortlake Crematorium Board. 14 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Mortlake Crematorium Board – The Present". Mortlake Crematorium Board. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cabinet Member For Environment And Planning. Report of: Assistant Director Environment Planning & Review. Subject: Buildings of Townscape Merit". London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. 9 February 2004. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Colin Hines (2003). Decover & Out: Mortlake Crematorium. Art Deco London (Twickenham, London: Park House Press). p. 56. ISBN 0-9544751-0-0. 
  7. ^ a b c "Mortlake Crematorium". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Contact Us". Mortlake Crematorium Board. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Cemetery details: Mortlake Crematorium". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  10. ^ David Blomfield (1994). Kew Past. Phillimore & Co Ltd. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-85033-923-5. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Mortlake Crematorium" (PDF). On Kew. Spring 2006. 
  12. ^ Kieran Smith (6 March 2002). "Richard Beckinsale". Find a Grave. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Transitions". The Advocate (Here Publishing) (681): 19. 16 May 1995. ISSN 0001-8996. 
  14. ^ Roger Lewis (2002). Charles Hawtrey 1914-1988: The Man Who Was Private Widdle. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0571210893. 
  15. ^ David Cesarani (1988). Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind. ISBN 0-684-86720-6. 
  16. ^ "Grave location for holders of the Victoria Cross in Surrey". Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Poignant farewell to Price". BBC News. 8 May 2002. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Calum McDonald and Karen Bale (4 December 2003). "Top Scots actor dies on stage: Gordon has heart attack". Daily Record (Scotland), republished by The Free Library. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Amy Dyduch (17 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher supporters line streets of Mortlake". Richmond and Twickenham Times (London). Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Andrew Murray Scott (2012). Alexander Trocchi: The Making of the Monster (Second edition, revised and expanded. ed.). Edinburgh: Polygon. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-84921-072-0. 
  21. ^ "Cremation Writes Finis To Dr. Ward's Sordid Career After Suicide Verdict". St. Petersburg Times. 9 August 1963. pp. 3–A. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "Davies, Vivian Gordon". Casualty details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°28′22″N 0°16′25″W / 51.4728°N 0.2735°W / 51.4728; -0.2735