Plumstead Cemetery was opened by Woolwich Burial Board in 1890 on a prominent hillside. The cemetery has a dramatic gateway with lodges at the entrance and a driveway leads up the hill to the chapels sited on the top of the hill. Plumstead War Memorial is within the cemetery, which also has memorials to those who lost their lives in accidents at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Among those buried here are local dignitaries and recipients of the Victoria Cross, Thomas Flawn and Gunner Alfred Smith who was part of the Camel Corps on its way to relieve General Gordon under siege at Khartoum.
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Plumstead Cemetery was opened by the Woolwich Burial Board in 1890 on a prominent hillside in former parkland that was laid out in the C17th; the land was owned by Old Park Farm in 1845 and the cemetery backs onto Bostall Wood (q.v.). The cemetery has a dramatic gateway with lodges at the entrance and a driveway leads up the hill to the chapels sited on the top of the hill, which are in French 'flamboyant' style and have 'a great deal of coloured glass'. Meller also remarks upon the ground near the chapel being carved out to create a cliff. To the left of the entrance are greenhouses and the south hillside is still largely grass; grass terraces descending to Wickham Lane now have a Children's Section that is reached via a pergola; there are big retaining walls and railings at the base of the slope. Planting within the cemetery is somewhat sparse but includes sycamore, beech, oak clumps although none of the planting appears to pre-date the cemetery layout.
Plumstead War Memorial is found within the cemetery, commemorating those who lost their lives in both World Wars, and there are also war graves of servicemen. Among those buried are people killed in accidents at work in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, and a pink granite obelisk north of the chapels was erected to the memory of those who died in two incidents in 1903 when 11 men lost their lives in Guncotton and Lyddite explosions. Notable local dignitaries buried here include Albert Gorman (d.1959), Mayor of Woolwich in 1940/41 and Chairman of the Metropolitan Water Board, and Col Sir Edwin Hughes (d.1904) the first Mayor of Woolwich in 1900/01. Recipients of the Victoria Cross for bravery include Thomas Flawn (28/11/1879) and Gunner Alfred Smith (17/1/1885), who received his VC for saving Lt D J Guthrie from an assailant, although he died later of his wounds. This act of bravery took place when the Camel Corps was on its way to relieve General Gordon under siege at Khartoum; the British forces encountered the rebel Dervishes on 16 January 1885 and routed them despite being outnumbered 1,600 to 15,000, although when they arrived at Khartoum they were two days too late, Khartoum having fallen and Gordon and the garrison killed.
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); LB Greenwich Cemeteries website