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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six adults are interred in each. Children usually are buried in separate graves, but in most adult
common graves children are also buried on the top. Children's graves are 5 feet by 2 feet in area.

T he demand tor brick graves is small. The number of interments in 1897 was—


(154.) St. Pancras cemetery—Opened 1854.
The cemetery is situated at East Einchley on the east side of the road leading to Barnet,
and has no houses in its immediate proximity. Islington cemetery adjoins. The surface of the
ground is irregular, and has a considerable fall in different parts. The soil consists of a hard,
chalky clay (boulder clay), of gravel extending in parts to a depth of 10 feet, and of sand. The
cemetery is not systematically drained. There is one main drain which serves for both Islington
and St. Pancras cemeteries, and which discharges into Strawberry-vale brook. Joining this
drain are others from different plots of the cemetery which it has been considered necessary to
drain. These are laid at a depth of 20 feet, and some of the earth graves are connected with
them. In the case of those graves which require draining, ballast and clinker is placed at the
bottom, and is also used in filling in each grave.
The total area of the cemetery is 105 acres. In addition the vestry possess 3 to 4 acres not
enclosed, and about TO acres which are at present sublet. Of the enclosed land about 70 acres
have not yet been buried in. In the ground already used the number of private graves (February,
1899) was 5,418, many of which are still available for re-opening; while in the portion,
about 5 acres in extent, where common graves were dug when the cemetery was first opened, only
every alternate grave space has been used. There are therefore about 2½ acres of this ground still
The space of private graves varies. The area of ground sold for enclosure is
either 9 feet by 4 feet, 7 feet by 3 feet, or 6 feet 6 inches by 2 feet 6 inches. Between each of
these areas intervals are left of 1 foot laterally and 1½ to 2 feet at head and foot of grave. In the
case of common graves an area of 6 feet 8 inches by 2 feet 4 inches is usually excavated, with the
following intervals between graves, namely—1 foot at head, 2 feet at each side, and 2 feet at
foot of grave.
The depth most frequently required in the case of private graves is 10 feet. Common
graves are dug 18 feet. The number of bodies interred in each common grave varies with the
number of children's coffins which can be interred in the upper part of adult graves. In the
Roman Catholic portion of the ground children have separate graves. It is the custom to leave
an interval of 6 inches of soil between each coffin, and a layer of 4 feet in all graves between the
top coffin and the surface.
The demand for brick graves is small.
A large number of non-parishioners are buried in this cemetery, especially Roman

The number of interments in 1897 was—


(155.) Willesden (Urban District Council) cemetery—Opened 1890.
This cemetery is situated at Church-end, Willesden, and adjoins a Jewish cemetery.
There are no houses at present in the immediate vicinity, but the district is increasing at a considerable
The soil consists of London clay, and is drained to a depth of 14 feet. Brick graves are
connected with the drains.
The total area of the cemetery is 26½ acres, 20 acres of which, at least, are still unburied
in. In the portion already used only a small proportion has been used for common graves.
All grave spaces are 9 feet by 4 feet. Common graves are dug 16 feet, and seven or eight
bodies are interred in each grave, a layer of earth 6 inches deep being placed between each coffin.
Children are buried in separate graves. These graves are dug 11 feet deep.

The total interments in 1897 were—


Old Cemetery.—This was an extension of the old churchyard. It is now used up except
for some 80 spaces still available for new graves, and private graves which are not yet filled. The
soil is clay, and the ground is drained into the local sewers at a depth of 10 feet 6 inches.
The area of grave spaces is 9 feet by 4 feet.
The number of interments for year ending March, 1898, was 80.