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Golders Green Crematorium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°34′38″N 000°11′37″W / 51.57722°N 0.19361°W / 51.57722; -0.19361 (Golders Green Crematorium)

Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium

Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum was the first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain.[1][2] The land for the crematorium was purchased in 1900, costing £6,000, and the crematorium was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson.[2]

Golders Green Crematorium, as it is usually called, is in Hoop Lane, off Finchley Road, Golders Green, London NW11, ten minutes' walk from Golders Green Underground station. It is directly opposite the Golders Green Jewish Cemetery (Golders Green is an area with a large Jewish population). The crematorium is secular, accepts all faiths and non-believers; clients may arrange their own type of service or remembrance event and choose whatever music they wish.[1][3][4]

The crematorium gardens are listed at Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2]


Horder Japanese Garden Pond
Horder Japanese Garden Pond

Cremation was not legal in Great Britain until 1885. The first crematorium was built in Woking and it was successful. At that time cremation was championed by the Cremation Society of Great Britain.[5] This society was governed by a council, at that time led by Sir Henry Thompson (president and founding member). There is a bust to his memory in the West Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium. Out of this Society was formed the London Cremation Company (which has its offices on the premises), who desired to build a crematorium within easy reach of London.

The crematorium in Golders Green was designed by the architect Sir Ernest George and his partner Alfred Yeates.[6] The gardens were laid out by William Robinson.[2] The crematorium is a red brick building in Lombardic style and was built in stages, as money became available.[2][6] The crematorium opened in 1902 and was finished around 1939, although since then some buildings have been added. Since November 1902 more than 323,500 cremations have taken place at Golders Green Crematorium, far more than any other British crematorium. It is estimated that the crematorium now averages around 2,000 cremations a year. The funerals of many prominent people have taken place there over the last century.

Ironically, the ashes of the first person cremated at Woking, Mrs Jeanette Pickersgill (died 21 April 1885), widow of artist Henry William Pickersgill, were removed from Woking to the East Columbarium at Golders Green, according to Woking's cremation records.

Interior of the columbarium
Interior of the columbarium

The chimney of the crematorium is located within the tower and the building is in an Italianate style.[1] The 12 acres (4.9 ha) of gardens are extensively planted, and produce a beautiful and tranquil environment for visitors. There are several large tombs, two ponds and bridge, and a large crocus lawn. Another notable feature is a special children's section, which includes a swinging bench. There is also a 'communist corner' with memorials to notables of the Communist Party of Great Britain. There are two cremation chapels and a chapel of remembrance. There are also three columbaria containing the ashes of thousands of Londoners and residents of neighbouring counties.

There have been 14 holders of the Victoria Cross cremated here,[7] and there are locations and memorials for many other military personnel of all ranks, and from many countries. Largest among them is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial, commemorating 497 British and Commonwealth military casualties of both World Wars who were cremated here. Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, it was unveiled in 1952. Built in Portland Stone with names listed on three bronze panels, it stands at head of an ornamental pond at the western end of the memorial cloister.[8]

At Christmas, a Christmas tree is erected in the field in front of the main buildings. Although the crematorium is secular, a nativity scene is also placed near the chapel of remembrance.

Notable monuments

The crematorium gardens are listed at Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2] The Philipson Family mausoleum, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is a Grade II* listed building on the National Heritage List for England[9] and the crematorium building,[6] the wall, along with memorials and gates,[10] the Martin Smith Mausoleum[11] and Into The Silent Land, a sculpture by Henry Alfred Pegram[12] are all Grade II listed buildings.

Into the Silent Land by Henry Alfred Pegram
Into the Silent Land by Henry Alfred Pegram


A map of the Gardens of Remembrance and some information on persons cremated here is available from the office. Staff are available to help in finding a specific location. This service is £10 per request. The columbaria can be visited. There is also a tea room.[6]

Notable cremations

Ashes at Golders Green Crematorium

Among those whose ashes are retained or were scattered here, are:

• Edward Malin, comedy actor (Nearest and Dearest)

Ashes taken elsewhere after cremation

Among those cremated here, but whose ashes are elsewhere, are:



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  2. ^ a b c d e f Historic England (9 January 2002). "GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1001575)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
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  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  10. ^ Historic England (24 August 1993). "WALL TO GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM AND ATTACHED MEMORIALS AND GATES, Barnet (1064769)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  11. ^ Historic England (24 August 1993). "MARTIN SMITH MAUSSOLEUM, GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1064770)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  12. ^ Historic England. "GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, STATUE IN THE GROUNDS TITLED INTO THE SILENT LAND, Barnet (1359089)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
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  16. ^ a b Younger, Coralie (2003). "Molly Fink". Wicked women of the Raj. Harper Collins. pp. 115–137. ISBN 978-81-7223-454-6.
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  23. ^ "Tommy Vance Funeral To Be A 'Celebration of His Life'". 8 March 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  24. ^ Hyman, Alan (1972). The Rise and Fall of Horatio Bottomley. Cassell & Co. pp. 289–290. ISBN 978-0-304-29023-9.Citation for cremation place.
  25. ^ Symons, Julian (1955). Horation Bottomley. Cresset Press. OCLC 1278478.Citation for disposal of ashes.
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  47. ^ Dave Burke (16 December 2015). "Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band singer remembered in Golders Green". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  48. ^ "The Cremation Society of England". Br Med J. 1 (2569): 761. 26 March 1910. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2569.761. PMC 2331239. PMID 20764997.
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Further reading

  • Beach, Darren (2011). London's Cemeteries (2nd ed.). London: Metro. ISBN 978-1-902910-40-6.
  • Grainger, Hilary J. (2000). "Golders Green Crematorium and the Architectural Expression of Cremation". Mortality. 5 (1): 53–73. doi:10.1080/713685990.
  • Jupp, Peter C.; Grainger, Hilary J., eds. (2002). Golders Green Crematorium, 1902–2002: A London Centenary in Context. London: London Cremation Company. ISBN 978-0-9543529-0-5.
  • Meller, Hugh; Parsons, Brian (2008). London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer (5th ed.). Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6183-0.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 November 2019, at 16:54
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