Inventory Site Record

Grove Park Cemetery * (Lewisham)

Brief Description

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

Originally called Deptford New Cemetery, Grove Park Cemetery opened in 1935 and has been praised as a rare example of an early C20th cemetery landscaped in the tradition of the great C19th cemeteries. Among those buried is Helmuth Barth, a horse trainer with Sangers Circus who died during a show at Romford in 1946.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Deptford New Cemetery
Site location:
Marvels Lane, Lee
SE12 9PU
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
10am - 3.30pm (November-February)/ - 4.30pm (March-October). Christmas Day 10am-2pm
Special conditions:
Toilets, car park
Public transport:
Rail: Grove Park then bus. Bus: 284
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see 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.

By the early C20th Deptford Cemetery, now known as Brockley Cemetery (q.v.) was almost full as the parish was becoming increasingly built up. In 1934 Deptford Borough Council purchased undeveloped land for its new cemetery in the south of the borough, where new estates like the Grove Park Estate were being built. Deptford New Cemetery was opened on 1 June 1935 by the Mayor of Deptford; its layout, designed by Borough Surveyor H Morley Lawson, described as 'the last flickerings of a great tradition' (Brooks) and 'a brave attempt to create the 1930s version of a well planned cemetery that Loudon had envisaged' (Meller). His design juxtaposed formal and informal elements and the cemetery buildings showed the influence of Moderne and Art Deco style. Still largely in place today, they included a brick and tile lodge, timber framed chapel, office, toilets and a central drinking fountain inscribed with the names of Deptford Borough Council's Cemetery Committee of 1934-5 at the time it was built. At the entrance are wrought-iron gates on tall brick piers, flanked by pedestrian gates, from where a main drive processes to the chapel. The first person to be buried here was Charles Terry on 17 September 1935.

The hillside to the west was landscaped with paved terraces incorporating seats and scenic viewpoints looking south, and an ornamental pool in white concrete. An axial walk was along the ridge with beds and laurel and thorn shrubberies, and to the east and south-east Marvels Wood and Elmstead Wood still provide a sylvan setting. Planting within the cemetery is not exceptional, and includes willows, limes, cypresses, and hawthorn, with floral beds near the entrance where there are mature trees of a wide selection of species, native and exotic.

Sources consulted:

John Archer, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Lewisham', Ecology Handbook 30, London Ecology Unit, 2000; Brooks 60; Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999 p417.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ416715 (541650,171550)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Lewisham
Site management:
Crematorium & Cemeteries Service
H Morley Lawson
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:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Green Chain (Green Chain Walk)

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.