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In Southwark, the dead have no name

18 January 2016

The FIRST 260 GRAVES are to go at Camberwell New Cemetery in one of LARGEST grave excavation and ‘reclamation’ plans in UK history – but no names, just Plot Numbers

Do you know if your Gran is in plot 21720? There’s going to be a road over her and her headstone THROWN AWAY.

TOO MANY graves are to go to list people’s names.

Most relatives won’t see the plot number notices. Families of loved ones TOO POOR for private graves won’t even be notified!

48,000 public graves to be OBLITERATED within days at the Old Cemetery, acres of woods cut down for ‘new’ graves and roads.

Council still denying plans: “We are not going to be digging graves up” says Burial Councillor on ITV NEWS. Read what Burial Strategy ACTUALLY says.

Save Southwark Woods campaign wants ALL graves PRESERVED, cemeteries declared Nature Reserves

Families are in the dark about Southwark’s massive grave excavation and ‘reclamation’ plans – and that’s the way the Council wants it.

At Camberwell New Cemetery, there’s a list of the first 260 graves to go – but just their plot numbers. In Southwark, the dead have no name. [See list below]

And within days at Camberwell Old Cemetery, mass ‘reclamation’ is to start – mounding over 48,000 PUBLIC GRAVES and cutting down acres of trees for ‘new’ burial plots.

Today, Save Southwark Woods asked: when is Southwark actually going to tell residents about plans to destroy tens of thousands of graves?

Southwark Council are still denying their plans. On 13th January, Darren Merrill Councillor for Environment and Public Realm told ITV News, “We are not going to be digging graves up.” [Watch the ITV News report here]

But Southwark Council’s own website states:

“The council’s cemetery strategy prioritises the re-use and reclamation of public and private graves (the law states that any grave older than 75 years can be re-used for burial).”

And in December, Cllr Merrill told BBC London that plans to start ‘reclamation’ at the Old Cemetery, mounding over 48,000 public graves and cutting down hundreds of trees, is just to buy time to get to excavating private graves. “Our long term strategy is around about 2020 when we will be able to start the reuse strategy.”

‘Reclamation’ means mounding over public graves. ‘Re-use’ means exhuming private graves for resale. This is the 2007 law that local MP Harriet Harman drove through parliament, allowing graves sold in perpetuity to have rights extinguished after 75 years and the plots ‘re-used’, i.e. dug up and re-sold.

But even the paltry courtesy of notification by plot number will be denied the dead poor, as Southwark don’t have to notify families with relatives in public graves.

All graves over 75 years old are at risk. The mass graves of the poor to be mounded over. Private graves to be excavated, memorials and headstones removed and the graves sold as new burial plots.

Most families are unaware graves might even be at risk. Save Southwark Woods is trying to reach everyone with family buried in the Camberwell Cemeteries to warn them.

“Why won’t Southwark Council own up?” said SSW spokesperson Blanche Cameron.

“Why didn’t they come clean on ITV News last week when they could have told everyone? Their plans affect tens maybe hundreds of thousands of people. They are about to start their horrific strategy. How can they still be denying it?”

Campaigners are asking families, friends and relatives to object to the Council and the Diocese of Southwark who have the power to agree or reject Southwark’s plan:

And contact us, to help preserve the graves, memorials, woods, nature and beauty of the Camberwell Cemeteries and make them Nature Reserves with respect for the dead and woods for the living:

Plot Numbers of graves to be extinguished at Area D1 Camberwell New Cemetery – for a road to access less than 8 months of new burial on One Tree Hill where as many as 60 trees are to be felled:

7187 – 7200

7501 – 7521

7525 – 7538

7540 – 7548

11947 – 11975

12401 – 12465

19622 – 19665

20001 – 20050

21701 – 21720

21722 – 21723