We are not alone

Help Volunteer

Help Volunteer

A few days ago I received an email from Jaki, one of the FOTC Friends:

“Was just in London and friend’s flat backs onto Brompton Cemetery.  Walked through there.  Some areas totally overgrown but they are clearing and working to restore and have an ongoing project.”


Accompanying the text below are some of the photos that Jaki took.




National Federation of Cemetery Friends

Protect our cemetery for everyone

Protect our cemetery for everyone

All over the country there are groups working to restore local cemeteries.  We have contacted the National Federation of Cemetery Friends which represents groups of volunteers interested in conserving cemeteries large and small.  The Cemetery Friends give their time clearing and maintaining areas, often working with local ecology groups to maintain a balance between wildlife and heritage.  Friends may also provide guided walks, open days and special events and work on projects with English Heritage and other organisations.  Some groups have restored memorials and chapels.

Associate members of the National Federation include trusts, councils, organisations who manage cemeteries and burials and individual members who are not part of a Friends group but share in their values.

They have produced an excellent booklet “Saving Cemeteries, A Handbook for Cemetery Friends” which draws on experiences from a number of Friends groups across the country.  It includes case studies on:  Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol; Woodbury Park Cemetery, Tunbridge Wells; Flaybrick Cemetery, Birkenhead; Sheffield General Cemetery; Beckett Street Cemetery, Leeds; The Rosary, Norwich; Nunhead Cemetery, SE London.

Why should our cemeteries be saved?

A Green Sanctuary

A Green Sanctuary

Cemeteries are pieces of ground set aside for burials.  There are around 14,000 cemeteries in the UK. Many cemeteries are closed for new burial plots, although they may be open for the interring (burying) of ashes.  Many cemeteries are attached to churches, some are operated privately and many are run by Local Authorities.

However, urban burial grounds in the 19th century were originally envisaged as public open spaces, and were professionally designed to be attractive places to visit in their own right.  As well as functioning as burial sites, they were also regarded as places for visiting and promenading of “a more dignified and morally uplifting kind”.  The nineteenth-century legislation that provided for new burial grounds seemed to have envisaged that they would in due course become public open spaces (for which provision was made in the Open Spaces Acts 1887 and 1906).

Today, many cemeteries are neglected, with little to attract anyone apart from those visiting specific burial plots. This lack of design, planning and ambition means that the potential health and environmental benefits of cemeteries are not being realised.

Incredible Heritage Assets

Incredible Heritage Assets

There is a strong case to be made that cemeteries have especial architectural and landscape interest because they have often been trapped in a time-warp, and have not been modified, adapted, overlaid, or even destroyed, as has so much else in the historic environment.

This is an argument that is becoming increasingly heard elsewhere in Europe.  There are a very large number of listed buildings in cemeteries, according to the National Monuments Record Centre, including lodges and houses, boundary walls, gates, mortuary chapels, cemetery chapels, tombs, and mausoleums.

So cemeteries are a unique mirror on our history and heritage whilst offering an opportunity for the future – a return to the original concept of “Open Space”, providing opportunities for encouraging wide community use.

The above includes extracts from the following sources:

Funeral Map ….

National Federation of Cemetery Friends ….

Cemeteries, churchyards and burial grounds ….




The Ruin

To the left of the lodge is the remains of a second chapel.  Until a couple of weeks ago this was covered with ivy and full of bramble and ivy.  The overgrowth has now been cut back but there is still quite a bit of work left to bring the inside down to its original floor level.  As the clearance progressed a lot of masonry came to light.  It appears that fragments of broken headstones have been left here – it would be interesting to trace their original grave locations.  Click Here to see some photos:

Expression of Interest

We have recently submitted to Teignbridge District Council an Expression of Interest for the community use of the Old Cemetery buildings and site.  As part of that we were also asked to submit a business plan.

Our response to that particular point was:

“With only two weeks, and no prior notice, to produce such a plan it would be disingenuous to produce anything which purported to be a definitive business proposition.  However, we do have a clearly thought through view which is presented in this Outline Business Strategy.  Our strength as a group is that we can call upon a wide range of skills, experiences and views to shape a cogent way forward for full community use of the site.

Our understanding is that at least one other organisation has had prior notice of the Expression of Interest and dealings with Teignbridge about the future of the site.  They will, therefore, have had more time to prepare a full business plan.  We hope that this is not pre-determination and that our proposition will not be discounted simply on the basis of not having had sufficient time or access to knowledge to produce such a plan.”

Teignbridge have said that they will be evaluating all Expressions of Interest over the next couple of weeks.  It is probably best, in case we jeopardise our submission, that we hold back on publicising the full content here.  But you can see a brief summary of the approach we have suggested at the following page:  Expression of Interest Summary.

Friends of Teignmouth Cemetery

We have recently officially established the “Friends of Teignmouth Cemetery” (FOTC) to promote the restoration and conservation of the Old Cemetery grounds and buildings and to encourage broad community use of those amenities in any way which is sympathetic to the site.

Details of FOTC and its activities are posted on a separate page on the Main Menu.

If you would like to become a Friend just follow the joining instructions posted there.


Wonderful News ….

This is exactly what community action is all about!!

Teignbridge Council withdraw change of use plans for Teignmouth cemetery

TEIGNBRIDGE Council has withdrawn its change of use plans for the old cemetery chapel in Teignmouth. In 2015, the council had put in an application to convert…
Looks like it’s in the Exeter Express & Echo too