The first Burial Board cemetery in London, laid out in 1854 by Barnett and Birch, with an extension of 1877.
Almost as soon as the Metropolitan Burial Act of 1852 came into force, the St Pancras vestry elected a Burial Board, which purchased 88 acres (c 36ha) of land at Horse She Farm on Finchley Common. St Pancras Burial Board sold 30 acres (c 12ha) of that land to the vestry of St Mary's, Islington, and it became the first Burial Board cemetery in London when it opened in 1854. Although the two parts of the cemetery (known as St Pancras Cemetery and Islington Cemetery) were separately owned and managed, the land was treated as a whole when it came to the layout of the drives and planting. The buildings and general layout were designed by the architects Barnett and Birch, and the nurseryman William Masters (1796-1874) was responsible for the landscaping (Gardeners' Chronicle 1874). The cemetery was described as having `beautiful park-like ground, with ' splendid trees' (Burial Department register). A further 94 acres (38ha) of land, part of the Strawberry Vale estate, were added in 1877, making it the largest cemetery in London. Islington Cemetery and St Pancras Cemetery were partially separated from each other by fencing, but they operated together very closely and until the Islington chapel was built in 1896, the St Pancras chapels were shared. Following a decline in the fabric of many of the buildings, the St Pancras Nonconformist chapel, the Islington lodges, and one of the St Pancras lodges were demolished in the late C20. The two parts of the cemetery are still separately managed (2001) and are under the ownership of the London Boroughs of Camden (St Pancras Cemetery) and Islington (Islington Cemetery).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
St Pancras and Islington Cemetery, c 74ha (of which c 52ha are here registered), is located to the north of East Finchley, in the London Borough of Barnet. It is bounded to the north by a C20 extension to the cemetery (outside the boundary of the area here registered), with the North Circular Road beyond, and to the north-west by the gardens and houses along Old Farm Road and Nursery Road, and a late C20 nursery for the cemetery. The cemetery is bounded by the gardens of the houses in Lankaster Gardens, and the cemetery works yard, with High Road, East Finchley (A1000) beyond to the west, allotments to the south, and Coldfall Wood and sports grounds to the east. The boundaries are a mixture of metal and wooden fences and walls. The southern and central parts of the cemetery are laid out on undulating ground, and from here the ground falls to the north and north-east. The views are mostly confined by planting to vistas along the roads and paths.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main mid C19 entrances (south and north) were from the west and led directly into the St Pancras part of the cemetery. The Islington part of the cemetery was approached from St Pancras Cemetery and, after 1877, it could also be approached from its own entrance in the south-east corner.
The mid C19 south entrance at the south-west corner, off High Road to the west, leads through late C20 gate piers and gates (on which are mounted the original plaques, dated 1854), flanked by mid C19 railings in a pinnacled Gothic style. To the north of the drive, c 40m from the gates is a 1960s square brick building serving as the offices for St Pancras Cemetery. This replaced the mid C19 lodge by Barnett and Birch on the south side of the drive, which was demolished in 1970.
The mid C19 north entrance to the cemetery, now (2001) used as the exit, is from the west off High Road, c 280m to the north of the south entrance, and is flanked by a pair of gatehouse lodges (listed grade II) of 1853 by Barnett and Birch, now with C20 metal gates mounted with the original gate plaques. In front of the lodges, the grass verges are marked by low, mid C19 posts with chain links. The entrance and exit are linked by a mid C19 drive which is straight for the first c 120m and then curves in a semicircle, returning on a straight line to the exit gateway.
A late C19 pedestrian approach to Islington Cemetery was made through a gate with a lodge in the south-east corner of the cemetery by the cemetery drive known as Wesley Road, but the lodge was demolished in the mid C20 and the entrance is no longer used. The main C19 entrance to the Islington part of the cemetery is from Church Road North, which leads north for c 140m from the St Pancras Anglican chapel and into the Islington Cemetery. A pair of mid C19 lodges and the gates were demolished in the late C20 and replaced by late C20 buildings. The fence along the boundary (which runs west to east between the two parts of the cemetery) has been removed although the line of it is still marked.
In the north-east corner of the cemetery there is a C20 entrance from Coppetts Road with a late C20 gate and lodge.
The St Pancras Anglican chapel (listed grade II) lies at the centre of the semicircular drive which links the entrance and exit to the cemetery, c 250m north-east of the entrance. It was built in 1853 by John Barnett and William C Birch in a cruciform design, with decorated windows in Gothic style and a central octagonal crossing tower and spire. It was used by both St Pancras and Islington until 1896, when the Islington chapel was built.
The St Pancras section occupies the southern part of the cemetery and it also extends northwards through two (detached) parts of the Islington Cemetery into the north-east corner of the site (extensions of 1877). The Islington Cemetery occupies land on the north-west and east (the 1877 extension) of the cemetery. The layout of the grounds and drives in the two parts of the cemetery are continuous with each other and in this description they are therefore described together.
The cemetery has a largely asymmetrical layout, with a combination of straight and curving drives (with more serpentine drives in the mid C19 St Pancras section), the principal drives running largely west to east. The layout of the eastern parts of the extension of 1877 is continuous with the earlier layout but the principal drives here run in a south-west to north-east direction. The northern parts of the extension, laid out with rows of late C20 graves and limited late C20 planting, are outside the area registered here.
Within the cemetery, Viaduct Road runs east from the main (south) entrance on High Road along the south side of the cemetery, Circular Road leading off Viaduct Road c 120m from the entrance and forming a semicircle, returning to the High Road along Exit Road to the north entrance. There are large tombs along the drives at the junction of Viaduct Road and Circular Road, and a war memorial on Viaduct Road c 80m east of the junction. West Road runs between the western ends of Circular Road, with a lawn to the east and an enclosed area to the west partly used as a nursery ground and storage area. A war memorial is situated on the west side of the road, near its northern end. At the midpoint of Circular Road is a small circular drive encircling the St Pancras Anglican chapel, which acts as a rondpoint where seven drives converge: Church Avenue to the west (leading back to West Road); Circular Road to the south-west and north-west; Church Road (running north into the Islington part of the cemetery, through the C20 lodges and so on to the Islington chapel); Church Road South (leading back onto Viaduct Road); North Road (which curves north-east); and Central Avenue (which runs east in a straight line). North Road, Central Avenue, and Viaduct Road form the three main roads through the St Pancras cemetery, Central Avenue with an avenue of limes and Viaduct Road surrounded by mixed specimen trees, including a copper beech, holm oaks, cedars, and a tulip tree towards its eastern end. These were planted in the C19 to provide the setting for the St Pancras Nonconformist chapel (demolished C20) which was sited on Chapel Hill, south-east of the eastern end of Viaduct Road. The chapel was built in the early 1850s by Barnett and Birch and had a six-sided lantern. Chapel Hill continues north as Wesley Road to form a circular drive (now, 2001, blocked off) which led to the lodge (demolished C20) in the south-east corner. Raleigh Road and Parker's Road form a large loop to the north of Wesley Road. Cross Road slopes north-eastwards down from Viaduct Road to Central Avenue and then continues to the north as East Road, which leads up to the junction of North Road and Middle Road. Near the junction of East Road, Central Avenue, and Cross Road (c 270m east of the St Pancras Anglican chapel), is a late C20 mess room. The Mond Mausoleum (listed grade II) by T A Darcy Braddell stands c 340m east of the St Pancras Anglican chapel. The mausoleum is built in the Grecian style (based on the Temple of Nemesis, Rhamnus) in granite and Portland stone, with a pediment supported by two fluted Ionic columns. Built for Ludwig Mond, Lord Melchett (1839-1909), the mausoleum, which was designed to be seen from the surrounding drives, with four converging near to it, is sited on its own and is approached up a flight of ten steps, with trees lining the slopes on either side. Joint Road runs north-east from Eastern Road parallel with Parker's Road and its continuation as High View Road. These two drives run through the part of the cemetery laid out in 1877. On the east side of High View Road is the Islington Crematorium (c 760m north-east of the St Pancras Anglican chapel), built in 1937 by Albert Freeman, an architect who specialised in crematoria. An oval-shaped memorial garden lies immediately south, planted as a formal rose garden.
High View Road and Joint Road terminate at their northern ends at Brook Road (respectively c 1.05km and c 850m north-east of the St Pancras Anglican chapel). Brook Road runs east to the entrance on Coppetts Road and west to join Lygoe Road, and together they form the northern boundary of the area here registered. Roman Road runs north to south between Brook Road and Joint Road, and the triangular area of land between the roads forms the Roman Catholic section. The (St Pancras) Roman Catholic chapel (1896) lies on the north side of Roman Road (c 540m north-east of the Islington Anglican chapel), and is in a simple Gothic style. Many of the tombs in the Roman Catholic section are decorated with angels and there are several interesting tombs, including the Melesi Mausoleum of 1914, for an early victim of a car accident. The western end of Lygoe Road curves south-west to join a small circular drive around the Islington chapel and another rondpoint, with five drives radiating off from it. The drives to the north-west (St Martin's Road) and west (St Mary's Road) circuit the north-west corner of the cemetery and lead to the nursery ground (outside the area here registered). To the east, and running parallel to each other and to Lygoe Road, are Lower Road and Upper Road which run west to east up the Islington part of the mid C19 cemetery. They terminate at Kew Road, which joins Middle Road at its southern end. Paths and drives are laid out between Lygoe, Lower, and Upper Roads. The western end of Upper Road, where it joins Church Road North, is planted with an avenue of horse chestnuts. South of St Mary's Road and west of Church Road North is an area of grass with mature scattered trees, and a war memorial is situated on the other side of Church Road North from this area, c 15m south-west of Islington chapel.
The planting in the cemetery is very varied, with many fine C19 trees. The C19 planting includes informal avenues of single deciduous species and mixed coniferous species along many of the drives. Throughout the cemetery there are mature C19 trees, planted as clumps, small groups, tree belts, and specimens. The trees and shrubs lie amongst the densely laid out graves and also in more open glades, with graves and tombs confined to the edges of the drives. The C19 planting includes a variety of conifers (cedars, cypress, monkey puzzle, firs, yew), clumps of laurels and rhododendron, large numbers of lime and horse chestnut, and other deciduous trees (including tulip trees, maple, and London plane).
There are tombs of every type and style, with the larger Victorian and Edwardian monuments strategically placed along the main drives (Viaduct Road, Circular Road, and Church Road), and at the main junctions. Buried in the cemetery are Ford Maddox Brown (1821-93), the pre-Raphaelite artist, and Henry Croft (d 1930), the original Pearly King. Two large plots contain the remains of C18 Islington residents,
Gardeners' Chronicle, ii (1874), p 437
B Weinreb and C Hibbert (ed), The London Encyclopaedia (1983), p 135
C Brooks, Mortal Remains (1989), p 163
H Meller, London Cemeteries (3rd edn 1994), pp 267-70
C Brooks, English Historic Cemeteries, (English Heritage theme study 1994), p 69
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4 North (1998), p 121
Brent Elliott, St Pancras and Islington Cemetery: notes for Victorian Society visit (nd) [copy on EH file]
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1920 edition
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1893/4
Documents, including deeds and plans, are held at the Legal Department of the London Borough of Islington and at the St Pancras Cemetery Office.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
St Pancras and Islington Cemetery is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A complex example of a High Victorian (1854) public cemetery, the earliest in the Metropolis.
* The landscape design is of a high artistic quality, based on a largely asymmetrical layout, by designers of note including Barnett and Birch (general layout), and the nurseryman William Masters (landscaping).
* The buildings, also by Barnett and Birch, were similarly of high quality.
* The layout and structures survive largely intact
* Its local and national social interest is expressed in a rich variety of 19th and early 20th century monuments.
Description written: September 2001
Register Inspector: CB
Edited: November 2004
Upgraded: November 2009
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 16 August 2017.