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Grave Destruction: Thousands of remains to be dug up at the Camberwell Cemeteries

04 January 2016

The Camberwell Cemeteries are full. But instead of closing them with respect for the dead buried there, Southwark Council’s cemetery strategy proposes excavating thousands of graves and felling over 10 acres of woodland to sell as new burial plots.

The first phase of this strategy is to fell woods in both Cemeteries and mound over tens of thousands of public graves, with the extinguishment of some burial rights.

Do you have family buried in Camberwell Old Cemetery?

Is your family name on this list?

Allison Bryant White Bradshaw Macdonald

Stone Butler Roe Bird Scott Greig Baker

Haynes Snell Webb Perry Harris Taylor

Poncett Hall Collins Hossack Minahan

These are the first graves whose rights are to be extinguished to create an access road for JCBs and diggers to clear the first area of 2.5 acres of woodland at Camberwell Old Cemetery.

If your name is on this list and have family buried there, you have until 15th March 2016 to notify the Council and object.

Contact Cemeteries Manager Avril Kirby:

Diocesan Chancellor Philip Petchey:

Diocese of Southwark Registrar Paul Morris:

Richard Hastings, Clerk to the Registry:

Southwark Council Leader Peter John

Please also copy us in and let us know if you have family or friends buried in either of the Camberwell Cemeteries:

Southwark’s cemetery strategy which prioritises the ‘reuse’ of graves is here:

The Church of England can stop the desecration

The Diocese of Southwark has the power to reject Southwark Council’s cemetery strategy as much of it is on consecrated ground. To date, more than 700 individual objections have been received by the Diocese to the first phase.

The Diocese of Southwark itself recently erected the Monument to the Unknown Southwark Parishioner, not at the Camberwell Cemeteries but at the new 40 acre Kemnal Park Cemetery under 5 miles away, where other Boroughs such as Tower Hamlets are investing in long-term burial land for all faiths.

Southwark Council’s cemetery plans not only destroy history and nature, but also exclude any burial provision for Orthodox Muslim residents – around 44% of Southwark’s burial demand, who already have to pay privately for burial outside the borough.

Above: Old graves to be excavated, remains removed, tombstones and headtones disposed of, at Camberwell New Cemetery
Above: Old graves to be excavated, remains removed, tombstones and headtones disposed of, at Camberwell New Cemetery

“Southwark Council’s plans would turn the Camberwell Cemeteries into NCP Car Parks of burial,” said Save Southwark Woods spokesperson Blanche Cameron, “replacing wild woods, nature and 150 years of London’s family history with packed in, sterile and ugly burial areas as seen at the recent Woodvale and Honor Oak Rec extensions.”

Save Southwark Woods is campaigning to preserve the graves, social history, nature and beauty of these inner city Cemeteries – and protect and rewild them as 100 acres of Nature Reserves like Nunhead Cemetery.

Please contact us if you are concerned about Southwark’s plans: