- in Environment
A cemetery is to open a “Museum of Death” as part of a new visitor attraction.
The plans to encourage more visitors to visit Brookwood Cemetery have been approved by Woking Borough Council.
The Surrey cemetery was opened in 1854 when London cemeteries became overcrowded following a cholera epidemic in 1848/1849.
Brookwood Military Cemetery contains 1,601 Commonwealth burials from World War One and 3,476 from World War Two.
“New visitor facilities including a café, walking trail, education centre and the provocatively titled, ‘Museum of Death’ are among the plans to attract new audiences and promote greater appreciation of this largely hidden public asset,” a council spokesman said.
Graham Cundy from Woking Borough Council said; “First and foremost, the cemetery’s main function is, and always will be, to provide a dignified and respectful resting place for Woking’s deceased, of all faiths and none.”
He said the new plan was as much about inspiring Woking residents to explore the Grade I listed park as it was about attracting new visitors.
It is home to a collection of giant redwood trees as well as a collection of Victorian monuments, many of which are Grade I listed.
Avril Kirby, Brookwood Cemetery Manager, said: “Many of the issues faced in the mid-19th Century, to a greater or lesser extent, still exist. Funeral poverty, population growth, excess deaths and growing concern for the environment are all issues which continue to challenge the funerary industry today.”
A new burial site is being prepared at Brookwood for the bodies excavated and exhumed from St James’s Garden in Euston, London, as part of the construction for the new HS2 station.