A late-C19 public cemetery, extended in 1909 and 1912.
In 1887, when there was no more space for burials at Putney Cemetery on Putney Common, Wandsworth Borough Council purchased farmland at Putney Vale for a new cemetery. The grounds were laid out by the Borough Surveyor, J C Radford, who was also responsible for the late-C19 buildings, and the planting was planned by J Melady and Sons of Barnes. The cemetery opened for use in 1891; it was then was extended in 1909, and again in 1912. In 1935 the chapel was converted into a crematorium by E J Elford, and a Garden of Remembrance was laid out for use in association with the crematorium in 1935-8. Putney Vale remains (2001) in use as a public cemetery.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Putney Vale Cemetery, c 18ha, is located to the south-west of Putney and north-east of Kingston, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is bounded to the north-west by Kingston Road (A3), with Richmond Park Golf Course beyond, and to the north-east, east, and south by woodland on the edge of Wimbledon Common. On the west side the cemetery is bounded by housing along Frensham Drive and a superstore. Late-C19 red-brick and stone walls form the boundary along the north side, and the other boundaries are marked by C20 metal fences, some of which are mounted on walls, and backed by hedges or woodland belts. The cemetery is laid out on virtually flat ground, with a slight rise from west to east, and a rise at the southern end of the cemetery towards the boundary. There are open views throughout the cemetery and vistas along the roads, particularly Hayward Avenue, Alexander Way, and Central Drive.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Today (2001) the main entrance is from Stag Lane, which leads south from the A3 to a late-C20 entrance to the cemetery. A drive, with a narrow strip of cemetery ground to the north (outside the area registered here), runs east for c 300m between the superstore to the north and the housing to the south, to an inner entrance which is marked by a late-C20 office on the north side of the drive.
The late-C19 entrance led directly into the cemetery from Kingston Road at the northern tip of the site but this is now (2001) used only as a pedestrian entrance. This entrance is marked by late-C19 gothic octagonal stone piers supporting iron gates and railings (together listed grade II). The late-C19 East Lodge stands on the east side of the drive, south-east of the entrance. From here, Hayward Avenue, lined by a double avenue of deciduous trees, runs south-east for c 160m to the chapel crematorium. An early-C20 entrance to the cemetery leads off Kingston Road in the north-west corner of the cemetery, but is no longer used. From the gates and gate piers, a drive leads south-east past the early-C20 West Lodge, and then south-east for c 150m to a rondpoint.
A late-C19 pedestrian approach lies on the south side of the cemetery and leads through a late-C19 iron gate between the boundary fence onto Alexander Way, a drive that runs south-west to north-east along the southern boundary.
A pair of gothic chapels, built in c 1890 by J C Radford, stand c 160m south-east of the East Lodge. The chapels (formerly Nonconformist on the west side and Anglican on the east side) are linked by a porte-cochère. A crematorium adjoins the chapels on the south side; this was built in 1935 by E J Elford, when the chapels were partially converted internally into a crematorium. The crematorium was damaged by a fire in 1946 and rebuilt in 1956.
From the late-C20 office, Central Drive runs north-east for c 30m to a rondpoint from which six drives radiate, four at right angles to each other: the two parts of Central Drive opposite each other, with Patons Drive, which leads north-west to West Lodge, opposite Greenwood Road, which leads south-east to Alexander Way on the southern boundary. On either side of Greenwood Road, forming a goose-foot pattern, are two further drives, Richards Way and Scofield Road, both of which run from the rondpoint to Alexander Way. The ground between Richards Way, Greenwood Road, and Scofield Road has an early-C20 radial layout of further drives, which terminate back on Central Drive or on Boulters Path, which forms the western boundary of the late-C19 cemetery. From the rondpoint, Central Drive continues north-east for c 300m across the width of the cemetery to the forecourt on the north side of the chapel crematorium. It is lined for part of its length by an avenue of alternating yews, conifers, and deciduous trees.
Alexander Way runs for c 450m along the south-east boundary, sweeps around the south-east corner of the cemetery, and then leads north-west for c 150m up to the south side of the chapel crematorium. Alexander Way is terraced and is on slightly higher ground, giving views over the rest of the cemetery. Along the eastern boundary the land rises from Alexander Way in small artificial terraces for graves. The mausoleums along it include the Sainsbury Mausoleum (late-C19, pseudoperipteral Doric temple, listed grade II), and the Edwin Tate Mausoleum (late-C19, marble Ionic temple, listed grade II) along the southern stretch, and the Gordon Mausoleum (late-C19, granite building in the style of an Egyptian temple, listed grade II), along the stretch that runs north to the chapel. Between Alexander Way and Boulters Path is the late-C19 part of the cemetery, laid out on a modified grid plan.
To the north of Central Drive is an area to the east of Patons Path, laid out in the early C20 on a simple grid plan. To the north-east of this area, and occupying the north-east corner of the cemetery, is a Garden of Remembrance, bounded by Kingston Road, Central Drive, and Hayward Avenue. The garden, which is roughly semicircular, was laid out as a rose garden in 1935-8 by E J Elford. It is partly enclosed by walls and piers of red brick with three gateways. The garden has been modified in the mid to late-C20 and now includes a fountain, flower beds with box hedges, and a lavender walk. In the 1970s planting was introduced to screen the Garden of Remembrance from a car park along Hayward Avenue.
The cemetery is largely kept clear of planting except for the mature woodland boundary belt, scattered specimen trees, and avenues along some of the drives. The trees are mixed conifers and deciduous trees, including oak, sweet chestnut, sycamore, yew, holly, thorn, lime, and poplar. The graves and monuments include a remarkable collection in the south-east corner of the cemetery of monuments from the 1890s to 1930s. Other major monuments include the Ismay tomb of 1937 with semi-abstract shipping scenes, the symbolist monument to Emma Vickey (1922), the grave of Sir Harry Renwick (1932), and the Lyons grave with mosaic work (1924). Lillie Langtry (1929) and Jacob Epstein (1959) were buried in the cemetery, and Clement Attlee (1967) and Clementine Churchill (1977) were cremated there.
Weinreb B and Hibbert C (eds), The London Encyclopaedia (1983), 135
C Brooks, English Historic Cemeteries, (English Heritage theme study 1994), 76
Cherry B and Pevsner N, The Buildings of England: London 2 South (1994), 682
Meller H, London Cemeteries (3rd edn 1994), 243-51
OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1919
OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1913
Deeds and plans relating to the cemetery are held at the Legal Department of the Borough of Islington and the Cemetery Office, St Pancras Cemetery.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Putney Vale Cemetery is desginated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Putney Vale Cemetery is a good example of a late Victorian municipal cemetery.
* The cemetery retains its original layout and associated structures designed by the Wandsworth Borough Surveyor, J C Radford.
* The cemetery contains a good collection of late C19 and early C20 funerary monuments.
* The cemetery survives intact with much late C19 planting by J Melady & Sons of Barnes.
* The garden of remembrance (1935-8) is a significant and early example of this landscape type laid out by the Borough Surveyor, E J Elford.
Description written: December 2001
Register Inspector: CB
Edited: Dec 2009