Golders Green Crematorium

Coordinates: 51°34′38″N 000°11′37″W / 51.57722°N 0.19361°W

Golders Green Crematorium - - 676569
Golders Green Crematorium

Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum was the first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain.[1][2] The land for the crematorium was purchased in 1900, costing £6,000, and the crematorium was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson.[2]

Golders Green Crematorium, as it is usually called, is in Hoop Lane, off Finchley Road, Golders Green, London NW11, ten minutes' walk from Golders Green Underground station. It is directly opposite the Golders Green Jewish Cemetery (Golders Green is an area with a large Jewish population). The crematorium is secular, accepts all faiths and non-believers; clients may arrange their own type of service or remembrance event and choose whatever music they wish.[1][3][4]

The crematorium gardens are listed at Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2]


Horder Japanese Garden Pond, Golders Green Crematorium
Horder Japanese Garden Pond

Cremation was not legal in Great Britain until 1885. The first crematorium was built in Woking and it was successful. At that time cremation was championed by the Cremation Society of Great Britain.[5] This society was governed by a council, at that time led by Sir Henry Thompson (president and founding member). There is a bust to his memory in the West Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium. Out of this Society was formed the London Cremation Company (which has its offices on the premises), who desired to build a crematorium within easy reach of London.

The crematorium in Golders Green was designed by the architect Sir Ernest George and his partner Alfred Yeates.[6] The gardens were laid out by William Robinson.[2] The crematorium is a red brick building in Lombardic style and was built in stages, as money became available.[2][6] The crematorium opened in 1902 and was finished around 1939, although since then some buildings have been added. Since November 1902 more than 323,500 cremations have taken place at Golders Green Crematorium, far more than any other British crematorium. It is estimated that the crematorium now averages around 2,000 cremations a year. The funerals of many prominent people have taken place there over the last century.

Ironically, the ashes of the first person cremated at Woking, Mrs Jeanette Pickersgill (died 21 April 1885), widow of artist Henry William Pickersgill, were removed from Woking to the East Columbarium at Golders Green, according to Woking's cremation records.

Interior of the columbarium, Golders Green Crematorium
Interior of the columbarium

The chimney of the crematorium is located within the tower and the building is in an Italianate style.[1] The 12 acres (4.9 ha) of gardens are extensively planted, and produce a beautiful and tranquil environment for visitors. There are several large tombs, two ponds and bridge, and a large crocus lawn. Another notable feature is a special children's section, which includes a swinging bench. There is also a 'communist corner' with memorials to notables of the Communist Party of Great Britain. There are two cremation chapels and a chapel of remembrance. There are also three columbaria containing the ashes of thousands of Londoners and residents of neighbouring counties.

There have been 14 holders of the Victoria Cross cremated here,[7] and there are locations and memorials for many other military personnel of all ranks, and from many countries. Largest among them is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial, commemorating 491 British and Commonwealth military casualties of both World Wars who were cremated here. Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, it was unveiled in 1952. Built in Portland Stone with names listed on three bronze panels, it stands at head of an ornamental pond at the western end of the memorial cloister.[8]

At Christmas, a Christmas tree is erected in the field in front of the main buildings. Although the crematorium is secular, a nativity scene is also placed near the chapel of remembrance.

Notable monuments

The crematorium gardens are listed at Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2] The Philipson Family mausoleum, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is a Grade II* listed building on the National Heritage List for England[9] and the crematorium building,[6] the wall, along with memorials and gates,[10] the Martin Smith Mausoleum[11] and Into The Silent Land, a sculpture by Henry Alfred Pegram[12] are all Grade II listed buildings.

Into the Silent Land by Henry Pegram, Golders Green Crematorium
Into the Silent Land by Henry Alfred Pegram


A map of the Gardens of Remembrance and some information on persons cremated here is available from the office. The staff are very helpful in finding a specific location. The columbaria are now locked, although they can still be visited (if accompanied). There is also a tea room.[6]

Notable cremations

Ashes at Golders Green Crematorium

Among those whose ashes are retained or were scattered here, are:

Ashes taken elsewhere after cremation

Among those cremated here, but whose ashes are elsewhere, are:


Philipson Mausoleum by Edwin Lutyens

The Philipson Mausoleum by Edwin Lutyens

Smith Mausoleum by Paul Phipps

The Smith Mausoleum by Paul Phipps

Golders Green Memorial Garden

The Memorial Garden

Childrens Garden

The Children's Garden

Marc Bolan Memorial Plaque

Memorial plaques to Marc Bolan and Keith Moon

Statue of Ghanshyamdas Birla

The statue of Ghanshyam Das Birla

Urn of Sigmund and Martha Freud (Side)

Vase with the ashes of Sigmund and Martha Freud

Urn of Anna Pavlova

Urn with the ashes of Anna Pavlova


  1. ^ a b c "Golders green Crematorium : informs about crematoria and cremation in Great Britain / United Kingdom and Europe". 15 September 2011. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Historic England (9 January 2002). "GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1001575)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  3. ^ "Famous names whose final stop was Golders Green crematorium". Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  4. ^ Cortazzi, Hugh (13 May 2013). "Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits". Routledge. p. 161. Retrieved 1 December 2018 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b "Cremation Society of G.B. - History of the Society". 3 August 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Historic England. "GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1064865)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
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  9. ^ Historic England. "MAUSOLEUM TO THE PHILIPSON FAMILY, GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1064788)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  10. ^ Historic England (24 August 1993). "WALL TO GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM AND ATTACHED MEMORIALS AND GATES, Barnet (1064769)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  11. ^ Historic England (24 August 1993). "MARTIN SMITH MAUSSOLEUM, GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, Barnet (1064770)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  12. ^ Historic England. "GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, STATUE IN THE GROUNDS TITLED INTO THE SILENT LAND, Barnet (1359089)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  13. ^ čeština. "Pegaret Keeling 1915–2000 – Whos Your Daddy? Wikigenealogy". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  14. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 7. Oxford University Press. 2014. p. 147. ISBN 0-19-861357-1.
  15. ^ Zoe Shenton; Sam Rkaina (5 November 2014). "Jack Bruce funeral: Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker pay a farewell in song to the "all round legend" – Mirror Online". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  16. ^ a b Younger, Coralie (2003). "Molly Fink". Wicked women of the Raj. Harper Collins. pp. 115–137. ISBN 978-81-7223-454-6.
  17. ^ Golders Green Crematorium guide notes
  18. ^ Hal Moggridge: Jellicoe. In: H. C. G. Matthew, Brian Harrison (ed.): Oxford dictionary of national biography. From the earliest times to the year 2000. Vol. 29. Oxford University Press, Oxford/New York 2004, ISBN 0-19-861379-2, pp 921–924.
  19. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume XIII – Peerage Creations 1901–1938. St Catherine Press. 1949. p. 362.
  20. ^ Oldfield, Sybil, "Dame Kathleen Rochard", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 4 January 2013
  21. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 53. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 859. ISBN 0-19-861403-9.Article by A. F. Thompson.
  22. ^ "Karl Tunberg". Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Tommy Vance Funeral To Be A 'Celebration of His Life'". 8 March 2005. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  24. ^ Hyman, Alan (1972). The Rise and Fall of Horatio Bottomley. Cassell & Co. pp. 289–290. ISBN 0-304-29023-8.Citation for cremation place.
  25. ^ Symons, Julian (1955). Horation Bottomley. Cresset Press. OCLC 1278478.Citation for disposal of ashes.
  26. ^ Royle, Edward. "Bonner, Hypatia Bradlaugh (1858–1935)". ODNB. OUP. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  27. ^ "T S Eliot East Coker Somerset England poet". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  28. ^ Sedman, Rob (February 2010). "Miss Lily Elsie – Biography". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  29. ^ "25 May 1925 – THE LATE EARL OF YPRES – Trove". 25 May 1925. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  30. ^ Rees, Brian (1986). A Musical Peacemaker, The Life and Works of Sir Edward German. Kensal Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-946041-49-0.
  31. ^ "Full text of "W. S. Gilbert His Life And Letters"". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Death of Sir C.S. Henry, Bart., M.P. for Wrekin Division (main story), The Funeral (sub story)". Shrewsbury Chronicle. 2 January 1920. p. 3.
  33. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume XIII, Peerage Creations 1901–1938. St Catherine's Press. 1949. p. 182.
  34. ^ a b "The National Library of Wales :: Dictionary of Welsh Biography". 11 February 1958. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  36. ^ "III. Later Life (1883–1939)". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  37. ^ Douglas James Davies; Lewis H. Mates. Encyclopedia of Cremation. p. 129. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  38. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume XIII, Peerage Creations 1901–1938. 1949. p. 87.
  39. ^ Oldfield, Sybil, "Ellis, Marian Emily", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 6 January 2013
  40. ^ "Peter O'Toole's ex-wife makes an appearance at his funeral | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV | Daily Express". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume XIII – Peerage Creations 1901–1938. St Catherine's Press. 1949. p. 495.
  43. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 48. p. 677.The ODNB does not mention the cremation.
  44. ^ "Princess Sophia Duleep Singh – Timeline". History Heroes organization.
  45. ^ Dave Burke (16 December 2015). "Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band singer remembered in Golders Green". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  46. ^ "The Cremation Society of England" (PDF). Br Med J. 1: 761. 26 March 1910. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2569.761. PMC 2331239. PMID 20764997. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  47. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 51. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 118.
  48. ^ Rodmell, Paul (2002). Charles Villiers Stanford. Scolar Press (Aldershot). p. 333. ISBN 1-85928-198-2.
  49. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 54. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 118. ISBN 0-19-861404-7.
  50. ^ News, A. B. C. (27 July 2011). "Mitch Winehouse to Amy: 'Goodnight, My Angel'". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  51. ^ "Guide to the Papers of Shmuel Mordkhe (Artur) Zygielbojm (1895-1943) : 1918-2011 (bulk 1940-1943) RG 1454". Retrieved 1 December 2018.

Further reading

  • Beach, Darren (2011). London's Cemeteries (2nd ed.). London: Metro. ISBN 978-1-902910-40-6.
  • Grainger, Hilary J. (2000). "Golders Green Crematorium and the Architectural Expression of Cremation". Mortality. 5 (1): 53–73. doi:10.1080/713685990.
  • Jupp, Peter C.; Grainger, Hilary J., eds. (2002). Golders Green Crematorium, 1902–2002: A London Centenary in Context. London: London Cremation Company. ISBN 978-0-9543529-0-5.
  • Meller, Hugh; Parsons, Brian (2008). London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer (5th ed.). Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6183-0.

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