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St Joseph's Cemetery and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church Brent

Summary

St Joseph's Catholic Church on Wembley High Road was built after the Diocese of Westminster had purchased land here in 1899 for a Catholic cemetery, although this was later abandoned. The small cemetery in Waverley Avenue was established and some 200 burials took place. In 1901 a small chapel was rebuilt on part of the site and used as a cemetery chapel. In 1911 the Diocese sold the land except the cemetery and site of the old church. In 1957 a larger church was built on the site, set back from the road by a garden. The cemetery is closed and has no evidence of gravestones today, with one tablet to double bass virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti.

Basic Details

Site location:
Waverley Avenue (cemetery)/High Road (church) Wembley

Postcode:
HA9 ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Cemetery

Date(s):
1885

Designer(s):
church: Reynolds Scott

Listed structures:
None

Borough:
Brent

Site ownership:
Diocese of Westminster

Site management:
Church

Open to public?
Partially

Opening times:
Church garden unrestricted; cemetery locked

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Concerts in church

Events:

Public transport:
London Overground/Rail/Tube (Bakerloo): Wembley Central. Rail: Wembley Stadium. Bus: 18, 83, 92, 182, 224.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2001
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.rcdow.org.uk/wembley

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ188850 & TQ188851 (518850,184980)

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
No

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:
No

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
None

St Joseph's Cemetery and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, July 2001. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

St Joseph's Catholic Church on Wembley High Road was built after the Diocese of Westminster had purchased 17 acres of land in 1899 with the idea of establishing a Catholic cemetery. The need for this was partly due to compulsory demolition of the diocesan Pro-Catholic St Mary Moorfields when Broad Street Station was built and those buried there were reinterred in the small cemetery at the end of Waverley Avenue. In 1901 a small brick chapel near Baker Street Station was dismantled and rebuilt on part of the site then known as Waverley Green, and was used as a cemetery chapel. The plan for the Catholic Cemetery was later abandoned and the church became a parish church of St Joseph's Wembley. In 1911 the Diocese sold the land for housing development, except the Waverley Avenue cemetery and the site of the old church. In 1950 a new team of priests set about building a new, larger church, the old one being too small for the congregation, which could number some 1,650 for Sunday Mass, and was structurally insecure. Plans were approved in 1955 for the church designed by Reynolds Scott and work began in 1956 on the site of the old church. In December 1957 the church opened for its first service but it was not consecrated until 1976, by Cardinal Basil Hume, the delay caused by debts to pay for the church, new organ, 2 new schools, social and youth centres and other facilities.

The cemetery in which some 200 people were interred has no evidence of gravestones today. It is closed, with gates and hedging at the boundary, paving slabs and grass. There is one tablet erected in 1968 to the only double bass virtuoso and classical composer based in Brent - Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846). In front of St Joseph's Church is a pleasant garden with hedged areas, flower beds and lawn. To the right of the church door is a hedged shrine and memorial with informal herbaceous borders.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 3: North West (Penguin, 1999 ed); Diocese of Westminster website. To check Geoffrey Hewlett, 'Images of London: Wembley', Tempus Publishing, 2007

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