Sunday, February 14, 2021

London Necropolis Railway


London The unfinished City
London Necropolis Railway Station

Wandering around the south of the River Thames, near Waterloo Station, you are surrounded by some fantastic architecture. 

This building which, to me, looked like an old fire station is actually the entrance to the London Necropolis Railway. 

Brief History

With space becoming a premium in London, more people were interred outside of the city. Brockwood Cemetery, Surrey, seemed like the perfect choice, so a train line was built that would transport the deceased and their mourners there. Brockwood Cemetery would become known as the London Necropolis.

From 1854 the London Necropolis Company's funeral traffic to Brockwood Cemetery left from the Necropolis Station, just outside Waterloo, and for many years there was a daily funereal express, to and from the Cemetery.

The waiting rooms, as well as the carriages on the funeral train, were partitioned so as to keep mourners and the deceased from mixing, also allowing to keep the different social classes apart.

London The Unfinished City
The tiles, windows and a wall light, at the London Necropolis Railway building.

The London Necropolis Railway was also used to transport many exhumed bodies, from London's overflowing cemeteries, to Brockwood.

The company had expected to carry between ten and fifty thousand bodies, per year, but, they ended up carrying just over two thousand, per year.

The London terminus was badly damaged in April 1941, during an air raid, which left it unusable. Funeral trains still departed to Brockwood Cemetery, until its official closure in May 1941.

An early price list shows that the charge for a coffin was 2s 6d.

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