Grave Searches - The South Metropolitan (West Norwood) Cemetery

West Norwood Cemetery

There are some 42,000 graves in the cemetery. Most are private (family) graves, but there are a number of public (common) graves and a number of plots are reserved for the interment of cremated remains. The cemetery is divided into 129 squares and all graves in the cemetery have a unique identifying number, hence the grave and square numbers together give the location of the grave. The Catacombs beneath the Episcopalian and Dissenters’ Chapels were numbered separately. Cremation records are also separate.

Although in the near future it is planned to make the burial and cremation records for the cemetery available online, at present there are four ways of accessing information about those buried in the cemetery.

  1. The Consistory Court of the Diocese of Southwark has ordered that details of illegally re-used graves in the cemetery (some 1,100) are available on-line at no charge. The database is searchable either by the name of the deceased, or by the grave number. The database can be found at: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/west-norwood-cemetery-database
  2. Ancestry.co.uk holds an abbreviated version of the burial register on-line. This holds details of those buried in the cemetery up to 1913 ordered by date of burial, but does not give the location (grave and square number). Hence a further manual search is needed of the full cemetery records to ascertain the location of any grave identified. Ancestry.co.uk is a subscription-only service.
  3. The full version of the burial register up to 1961 ordered by date of burial, and giving grave and square numbers, is held at Lambeth Archives, 52 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY (see: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/places/lambeth-archives). A microfilm copy is freely available for searching by visitors, but Archives staff understandably have to make a charge for carrying out searches themselves on request.
  4. A name index to the burial register, that is partly alphabetical and partly ordered by date of burial, and a grave register ordered by grave number, by means of which location and other details can be found, are held at the Cemetery Office, Norwood Road, London SE27 9JU (see: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/places/west-norwood-crematorium-and-cemetery). It is thus possible to search by surname of the deceased if the date of death is known, but the cemetery office staff understandably have to make a charge for anything other than simple searches with precise dates of death. The procedure followed is detailed here: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/births-deaths-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/deaths/burial-and-cremation-records-guide

FOWNC hold details of some, by no means all, of those buried or otherwise commemorated in the cemetery, and we help where we can with enquires as to surviving monuments, especially enquiries from outside London. Contact secretary@fownc.org or chairman@fownc.org for further information or advice as necessary.