Inventory Site Record

Old Mortlake Burial Ground

Old Mortlake Burial Ground (Richmond)

Brief Description

Land for what is now called Old Mortlake Burial Ground was purchased in 1854 and the first burial took place in December. In 1874 Mortlake Burial Board was established and further pieces of land were purchased, and the cemetery was enlarged to the west in 1877. The original cemetery chapel was demolished in 1969, its site marked by a an area of tarmac in front of the main entrance gates on South Worple Way. From here an avenue of mature horse chestnuts flanks the path that prior to the extension ran through the centre of the cemetery. A brick lodge was built at a second entrance on Avenue Gardens, now privately owned. The cemetery has many fine mature trees and a number of historic tombs including those of Charles Dickens' eldest son and sister-in-law.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Mortlake Burial Ground; Mortlake Old Cemetery
Site location:
South Worple Way/Avenue Gardens, Mortlake
SW14 8BP
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
10am-4.30pm (November - March); 10am - 6.30pm (April - October)
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Mortlake. Bus: 493, 33, 337, 485

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

When the parish churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake (q.v.) was full, the vestry bought land for a new cemetery in 1854 paid for by subscription. The first burial was that of William Langridge on 21 December of that year. In 1874 a Burial Board was formed and further pieces of land were purchased from Captain T K Fitzgerald and Mr W H Ratcliffe for £1,350 and £420 respectively, and the cemetery was enlarged to the west in 1877. It was paid for through a 30 year mortgage of £3,500, which the Board took out with Atlas Life against the poor-rates as security. The cemetery's grid system of paths is now gone but the original cast iron railings and main entrance gates remain. A path leads to the entrance on Avenue Gardens, where the brick lodge is now privately owned.

In the south-east corner of the cemetery is an obelisk over the grave of Admiral Lord William Fitzroy who lived in Mortlake. Buried here are Charles Dickens' son, also Charles (d.1896), and Dickens' sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth (d.1917); Sir Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890) who was instrumental in reforms to burial practices particularly through his report 'Practice of Interment in Towns' in 1843; Francis Godfrey (d.1868), Waterman to Queen Victoria; Admiral Sir Erasmus Ommaney (d.1904) who served on the Arctic Expeditions of 1838 and 1850; Thomas German Reed (d.1888) who with his wife Priscilla created the 'German Reed Entertainment' in 1855 'to provide dramatic amusement for that class of society which was reluctant to visit the theatres'. Some restoration work has been carried out in recent years, largely at the instigation of volunteers and one particular enthusiast who tends the cemetery.

Sources consulted:

Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); John Eustace Anderson 'A History of Mortlake', 1886 (facsimile with amendments by Raymond Gill, 1983); John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p83

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ210756 (521050,175650)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Richmond
Site management:
Environment Planning and Review, Cemeteries Office
1854, 1877
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

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:
Queen's Road (Mortlake)
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Open Land of Townscape Importance

Page Top