London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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London County Council 1900

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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Brick graves are still buried in to a small extent—about four a year on an average at this
The number of interments in 1897 was 123.
(138.) Wandsworth cemetery—Opened 1878.
Situated on rising ground in the parish of Wandsworth, to the east of Garratt-lane, and
just south of the South-Western Railway main line. Some distance to the north-east is Wandsworth
Prison. There are no houses in proximity to the cemetery.
The surface of the ground has a good slope. The soil consists partly of clay and partly of
river gravel, and a new piece of ground, lately acquired with a view to extension, is of a sandy
The cemetery is drained at a depth of 13 feet, and brick graves are connected with these
The total area is 34 acres; of this 12 acres are enclosed and 9 laid out for cemetery
purposes. The remainder is used for nursery or agricultural purposes. Of the total, 30 acres have
not been buried in, while of the 4 acres already used about 1 acre is occupied by common graves,
and is therefore not again available for interments.
The area of grave spaces is, for private and common graves, 9 feet by 4 feet.
The depth of private graves is variable, but the tendency, it is stated, is to have graves
for single bodies. Common graves are dug 17 feet usually, four adults and three children being
interred in a grave. The bodies of _paupers are interred at Woking cemetery.
There are only a small number of brick graves or vaults here. They are seldom required

The number of interments in 1897 was—


(139.) Woolwich cemetery.
I am unable to report on this cemetery. The local authority has failed to supply information
regarding it.
13.—Cemeteries situated outside the boundary of the County of London.
(140.) Battersea cemetery {new)—Opened 1891.
Situated at Morden, in Surrey, the cemetery is surrounded by open country on all sides.
The ground is low-lying, and for the most part flat and has a small brook running through
part of the land purchased for use as a burial place.
The soil consists of London clay, and is drained at a depth of 11 feet from the surface, the
effluent being pumped from a well into the Croydon sewerage system.
The total area of the ground is 130 acres. Part of this is let for grazing; 62 acres are in
use for burial purposes. Some 4¼ acres of ground have now been buried in, about 3 of which are
occupied by common graves which cannot again be disturbed. Probably one-sixth of the private
graves are also full.
The area of all grave spaces is 9 feet by 4 feet. Children are, as a rule, buried in separate
common graves, for which the same space is allowed.
Private graves are mostly 7 feet deep. Common graves are dug to 10½ or 11 feet, and, as
a rule, the corpses of five adults are interred in each. They are usually filled within two days.

The number of interments during 1897 was—


(141.) Battersea (???) cemetery—Opened 1860. (Situated within the county.)
This cemetery is now only used for burials in private graves which have not yet been filled.
Chingford Mount cemetery—Opened 1884.
This is owned by the proprietors of Abney-park cemetery.
The soil consists of clay. The ground is drained for surface water by means of drains
laid underneath the pathways.
The area of the cemetery is 60 acres, in only 5 acres of which have burials taken place,
and in at least 2 acres of the latter graves are still available for further burial.
The area of grave spaces is as follows—For purchased graves, 8 feet 6 inches by 3 feet,
9 feet by 4 feet, 10 feet by 4 feet; for common graves, 25½ square feet, or 8 feet 6 inches by
3 feet. Private graves are usually required to be of a depth of 12 feet. Common graves vary
from 14 to 20 feet, and 8 to 10 adult bodies are in most instances buried in each grave.
The use of brick graves and vaults is dying out.