Inventory Site Record

Kensington Hanwell Cemetery * (Ealing)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Kensington Hanwell Cemetery was one of first public cemeteries to be opened after the Metropolitan Interment Act of 1850. It was established by the Burial Board of the parish of St Mary Abbots, North Kensington in 1855. Due to the number of burials it was expanded a number of times but was virtually full by 1924 when the Burial Board opened its new Gunnersbury Cemetery. Its layout is little changed, entered via a splendid Gothic-style arch from where a straight walk leads, thickly planted with shrubs. The main part of cemetery is richly planted with Cedars, Holm oaks, Corsican pine, specimen conifers and other trees. One of its two original chapels survives with picturesque remnants of the arcade that formerly linked it to the Nonconformist chapel to the east, demolished c1972. There a number of notable tombs and monuments.

Practical Information
Site location:
31 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell
W7 3PX
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
Jan, Nov, Dec 9am-4.30pm; Feb, Mar, Oct 9am-5.30pm; Apr, May, Sept Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-6pm; Jun, Jul, Aug Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 9am-7pm
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Hanwell. Tube: Acton Town, Boston Manor (Piccadilly) then bus; Ealing Broadway (District, Central) then bus. Bus: E3, E8, 83, 207.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.rbkc.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

One of first public cemeteries to be opened after the Metropolitan Interment Act of 1850, it was opened by the Burial Board set up by the parish of St Mary Abbots, North Kensington in 1855, a year after the opening of Hanwell Cemetery (q.v.) It was designed by Thomas Allom, surveyor to the Ladbroke Estate in Kensington, and who had come second in the competition for the Brompton Cemetery (q.v.). He had designed a funerary chapel at Highclere Castle in Hampshire and the gothic mausoleum for George Dodd at West Norwood Cemetery (q.v.).

The cemetery was originally laid out on a c. 6.5 hectare plot, but due to the large number of burials it was enlarged to the west in the 1870s when 1.4 hectares of a former orchard was purchased. At the same time the Burial Board prohibited burials of those living outside the parish. By 1895 a further plot of c.1.2 hectares had been added to the east but by 1924 the cemetery was virtually full and the Burial Board's new Gunnersbury Cemetery (q.v.) was opened in 1929. It is a well-landscaped cemetery approached via a splendid Gothic-style arch inscribed with the date and Allom's name. Leading from the entrance through wrought iron gates and past the lodge, is a straight walk, thickly planted with shrubs, including yew, laurel and holly. The main part of cemetery is richly planted with Cedars, holm oaks, Corsican pine, and specimen conifers; a central axial walk leads to the chapel with serpentine paths on either side, the layout still much as recorded on early OS maps. The surviving chapel has been restored, a Victorian Gothic Anglican mortuary chapel, originally Episcopal, and there are also remnants of the arcade that formerly linked it to the Nonconformist chapel to the east, which was demolished in c.1972.

The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

The tombs and monuments are concentrated in the southern half of the old part of the cemetery, which is dotted with flowering cherries. The circular path in the eastern extension is bounded by mature pines and cedars and surrounded by late C19th tombs. In the western lawns the tombs and urn burials date from c.1920 onwards. A World War I memorial in the form of a tall white stone cross and a small rectangular burial ground with war graves lies c.60m north-west of the mortuary chapel adjacent to the old western boundary of the cemetery.

Notable monuments include the tomb of the conchologist Edgar Smith (d.1916 ), decorated with a large conch shell, Sir Charles, General Manager of the Great Western Railway (d.1919), Dr John Conolly (d.1866), revolutionary psychologist and Superintendent of the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum, and after whom Conolly's Dell (q.v.), a small park in Hanwell is named.

Sources consulted:

Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Chris Brooks et at, 'Mortal Remains'. 1989; Victoria County History; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); C Webb, revised ed. of P Wolfston 'Greater London Cemeteries and Crematoria', Society of Genealogists, 1994; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); LB Ealing Conservation Area Appraisal (April 1999). NHLE Register: Peter Hounsell, 'Ealing and Hanwell Past' (Historical Publications, 1991).

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ158803 (515871,180481)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kensington & Chelsea
Site management:
Cemeteries Services
Thomas Allom
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade II
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Hanwell Cemeteries
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.