|West Ham Cemetery||Newham|
West Ham Burial Board was set up following the passing of the Burial Acts in the 1850s and in 1857 purchased 4.85 hectares of land for its new cemetery from Samuel Gurney, a Quaker whose family was related to the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry. West Ham Cemetery was extended to its current size in 1871. The emphasis was on creating good drainage and keeping costs low so the cemetery's layout is a simple grid plan. It retains its small ragstone chapel designed by T E Knightly but its non-conformist chapel has since been demolished. A small mock-Tudor lodge is situated just inside the metal entrance gates. There are no prominent monuments, and gravestones are set among grass. Among the memorials are those who died in two disasters, the sinking of the Princess Alice pleasure boat in 1878, and the Silvertown Explosion of 1917.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2011
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Throughout the cemetery there are a number of mature trees, mostly common lime but also pedunculate and holm oaks, ash, false acacia, sycamore and various species of conifers. The fairly low brick wall which forms the boundary with the adjacent West Ham Jewish Cemetery (q.v.) allows views between the two, and both cemeteries are surrounded by suburban housing. Hugh Meller remarks upon some interesting poetry among the epitaphs in West Ham Cemetery. Among those buried here are 2 people who died when the Princess Alice pleasure boat sank in the Thames near Beckton in 1878 killing 550 people. Another memorial commemorates 2 firemen killed in 1917 when the TNT plant of the Brunner Mond chemical works in Silvertown exploded, the memorial featuring a fireman's helmet. Victims of both of these disasters are also buried in East London Cemetery (q.v.).
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); John Archer/Ian Yarham, Nature Conservation in Newham, London Ecology Unit, 1991.