St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Cemetery/graveyard, existing between 1854 and now

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Cemetery/graveyard · The Underground Map · N2 ·
MAY
2
2016

St Pancras and Islington Cemetery is actually two cemeteries, owned by two other London Boroughs, Camden (formerly St Pancras) and Islington.

Islington Chapel, St Pancras and Islington Cemetery
Credit: Mark Kobayashi-Hillary
Following the Metropolitan Burials Act 1852 and later acts which were designed to alleviate serious health and other problems caused by over-crowded burial grounds and lack of management and accountability, the cemetery was established in 1854 as the first municipally owned cemetery in London when the St Pancras Burial Board bought 88 acres of the former Horseshoe Farm on Finchley Common. A further 94 acres were annexed in 1877 and the total area was divided between Islington and Camden, the former having two areas to the north-west and east, the latter having the remainder. A bank and ditch along the eastern edge marks the parish boundary between Finchley and Hornsey. To the south the cemetery is bordered by the ancient woodland of Coldfall Wood, to the north the North Circular road and to the west by the A1000 Great North Road. The cemetery features several chapels and a large crematorium built by Albert Freeman in 1937.

Although Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, Surrey, is the country’s biggest cemetery by area with over 2000 acres, the St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in North London accommodates over three times the number interred at Brookwood and more than any other cemetery in the UK. Two conjoined cemeteries, St Pancras and Islington, form the third largest single cemetery serving London after Brookwood Cemetery and City of London Cemetery and Crematorium and in burial numbers, the largest in the UK with around one million interments and cremations.

St Pancras Cemetery has a war graves plot containing over 100 graves from both world wars, together with a number of headstones retrieved from graves that were scattered elsewhere in the cemetery and could not be maintained. A memorial bears the names of 27 casualties whose graves could not be marked individually, and of six First World War casualties buried in adjacent Islington Cemetery who could not be commemorated there. In total 299 First World War Commonwealth service casualties - including one unidentified Royal Navy sailor - and 207 Second World War casualties are commemorated or buried here. John Ross who gained the Victoria Cross is also buried here.

Islington Cemetery contains the graves of 334 Commonwealth service personnel of the First and 265 of the Second World War, which are all scattered throughout the cemetery. A Screen Wall memorial in the western part of the cemetery lists names of those buried here whose graves could not be individually marked by headstones, together with those of two servicemen of the Second World War who were cremated at Islington Crematorium. Six soldiers buried in this cemetery whose graves could not be located are alternatively commemorated on stones in St Pancras Cemetery.

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Islington Chapel, St Pancras and Islington Cemetery
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary


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