Nunhead Cemetery was consecrated in 1840. It is one of the "Magificent Seven" great Victorian cemeteries established in a ring around the outskirts of London. The cemetery is located in the Nunhead area of southern London and was originally known as All Saints' Cemetery
It contains examples of the monuments erected in memory of the most eminent citizens of the day, which contrast sharply with the small, simple headstones marking common, or public, burials. It's formal avenue of towering limes and the Gothic gloom of the original Victorian planting gives way to paths which recall the country lanes of a bygone era.
The first burial was of Charles Abbott, a 101 year old Ipswich grocer; the last burial was of a volunteer soldier who became a canon of Lahore Cathedral. The first grave in Nunhead was dug in October 1840. The average annual number of burials there over the last ten years, has been 1685: 1350 in the consecrated, and 335 in the unconsecrated ground.
Burials at Nunhead Cemetery
- Charles Abbott, (1798-1899) the 101 year old Ipswich grocer and Charterhouse brother. He was born in Debenham, Suffolk, on 9th Feb 1798. He was a grocer at Ipswich for many years before moving to London. He was appointed a Brother of the Charterhouse ("Codd") in 1876, nominated by Sir William Erle. He died on 13 March 1899 at Charterhouse.
- Frederick Augustus Abel (1827-1902) Cordite co-inventor. Scientist. He was an English military chemist who developed a process for reducing gun cotton to a pulp, thus enabling it to be worked and stored in safety. Together with Scottish physicist and ballistics expert Sir Andrew Noble, he developed new and important theories of explosives. He was one of twenty-six original students of the Royal College of Chemistry, enrolling when the institution began in 1845. In March 1852 he succeeded scientist Michael Faraday as lecturer in chemistry at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, England. On July 24, 1854 he became Ordnance Chemist, and two years later was made chemist to the War Department. In 1868 he developed the open-test for determining the flash point of petroleum, which, in 1879 was superseded by the Abel close-test. Ten years later he and Sir James Dewar invented the smokeless propellant cordite, which eventually replaced gunpowder in military use. (bio by: s.canning)
- Robert Abel (1857-1936) English test cricketer who in 1899 made 357 runs in an innings, a record until 1938
- Robert Abel (1857-1936) Bobby "The Guv'nor" Abel -
- William John Abel (1887-1934) Cricketer born 29 August 1887, 2nd son of the famous Surrey and England Cricketer Bobby "The Guv'nor" Abel above.
- William Ackland (1820-1895) Medical galvanist and optician who wrote Hints on spectacles - when to wear and how to select them.
- Henry Adams (1799-1887) Principle clerk with Lloyd's Register of Shipping which he served for seventy four years.
- Robert Armstrong (1788-1867) Gaelic lexicographer, scientist and schoolmaster, author of the first Gaelic dictionary published 1825.
- Rev. Charles Banks (1806-1886) Baptist Minister, printer and publisher who published the Kentish Times among other newspapers, and founded the Baptist journal Earthen Vessel. He also wrote a life of Calvin.
- Lavinia Bartlett (1806-1875) Baptist preacher with a huge following at the metropolitan Tabernacle
- Frederick Beckwith (1821-1898) - assumed the title of world swimming champion although "really only a passable swimmer". Coached many swimmers including Captain Webb for his cross channel swim.
- William Beckwith (1857-1892) Champion swimmer, son of Frederick above, who at the age of five performed as "Baby Beckwith, the Wonder of the Worls". In 1881 he beat Captain Webb in a six day race.
- George John Bennett, 1800–1879, English Shakespearian actor
- William bennett (1820-1895) Poet and Journalist who assisted Gladstone in his campaign to become Liberal MP for Greenwich in 1868.
- Francis Bristow who died in 1911 - in her 105th year
- Samuel Broome (1805-1870) Gardener to the Inner Temple for forty years. His annual chrysanthemum show was a well known spectacle in London.
- Horace Brown (1848-1925) Chemist, brewer and viticulturist who became governor of Imperial College, London.
- William Shergold Browning (1797-1874) Historian, uncle to Robert Browning the poet. He wrote several books including histories of the Huguenots and Henry V.
- Sir Ernest Budge (1857-1934) Keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the british Museum and archaeologist who conducted excavations in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
- John Callow (1822-1878) Artist - brother of William Callow
- Henry Capel (1795-1887) Wine merchant and historian of the Cooper's Company
- Charles Carpenter (1858-1938) Civil engineer, President of the Institution of Gas Engineers 1895 and pioneer in chemical warfare during The Great War
- Thomas Carter (c.1818-1867) Clerk in the Adjutant-General's office and military historian; wrote Curiosities of War and Military Studies (1860)
- William Chadwick (1797-1852) Builder and railway engineer who built the chapels at Kensal Green cemetery , worked on the Great Western Railway and was involved in the development of the Ladbroke estate
- Col. Joseph Chester (1821-1882) American born writer and genealogist. Published The Register of Westminster Abbey in 1876
- Charles Cheyne (1838-1877) Schoolmaster and astronomical theorist
- Charles Clarke (1849-1908) Chemist, active in Southwark local government, who became Liberal MP for Peckham in 1906
- Cuthbert Collingwood (1826-1908) Physician, naturalist and writer on the Swedenborgian church
- William Collyer (1782-1854) Congregational minister, founder of Peckham's Hanover chapel, patronised by the Dukes of Kent and Sussex.
- Peter Cunningham (1789-1864) Surgeon superintendent of convict ships to Australia. Wrote of his experiences and of a visit to the Falkland Islands.
- William 'Mutton' Davies (1795-1867) Tailor who always ordered mutton when out to dinner. A local character, one time boxer, wrestler and acrobat.
- Sir Polydor de Keyser (1832-1898) First Catholic Lord Mayor of London since the Reformation, 1887-88, owner of the Royal Hotel, the largest in London.
- William Distant (1845-1922) Naturalist, director of the Anthropological Institute, secretary of the Entomological Society and editor of the Zoologist
- Bryan Donkin, b. March 22, 1768 d. February 27, 1855. Engineer, Inventor of Tinned Iron Food Canning and Builder of the Difference Engine. He began his career as land agent to the Duke of Dorset, before becoming an apprentice engineer with John Hall of Dartford, Kent. He then started his own business, initially making moulds for the paper making industry. Between 1801 and 1802 he was commissioned to build the prototype of the Fourdrinier paper making machine, which he perfected in 1804. In 1813 he patented a "polygonal printing machine". He built an observatory in his garden.
- Horatio Donkin (1845-1927) Grandson of Bryan Donkin who was an eminent doctor and director of convict prisons.
- Rev. George Drew (1818-1880) Clergyman and ecclesiastical scholar. His son Julius founded the Home and Colonial Stores and built Castle Drogo.
- Augustus Durandeau (1848-1893) Writer of popular music hall songs including 'If you want to know the time ask a policeman'. Buried in a pauper's grave.
- Edward John Eliot, 1782–1863, Peninsula War soldier
- Jenny Hill, Music hall performer
- Edwin Roscoe Mullins (1848-1907) Sculptor. He studied at the Lambeth School of Art and at the Royal Academy, at the same time working as an assistant to Birnie Philip. He also studied in Munich under Wagmuller, before exhibiting his first piece at the Royal Academy on returning to London in 1874.
- Thomas Tilling, bus tycoon
- Alfred Vance, English Music hall performer
Full list of 883 interments at Find a Grave.
References and Sources
- More Nunhead Notables Ron Woollacott - Friends of Nunhead cemetery.
- London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer Hugh Miller & Brian Parsons.