Thursday, 28 October 2010

Dead Interesting Building!

The Station Today

In honour of Halloween, I thought the following building may prove appropriate!

In London - if you drive down Westminster Bridge Road - on the south side of the river Thames, near Waterloo Station, you will pass an ornate but unremarkable Victorian building that may not encourage a second glance. But this red brick, terracotta and granite Grade II building had a remarkable purpose. It was once a necropolis railway station.

In mid 19th century London burial space was becoming scarce. In response to this grim demand, 1854 the London Necropolis Company opened a cemetery at Brookwood, in Surrey. Together with the London and South West Railway company they ran funeral trains between London and Brookwood carrying both coffins and mourners.

The LSWR line was used for most of the journey but at both ends of the route the Necropolis Company had their own sections of lines and their own stations. The London terminus was on York Street (now Leake Street), next to Waterloo station. When the LSWR needed this land for development in 1902, a new Necropolis terminus was built at 121 Westminster Bridge Road. The design is credited to Cyril B Tubbs, general manager of the Necropolis Company, and a Mr Andrews, engineer, of the London and South West Railway.

Despite the new building, though, the use of the service from London to Brookwood steadily declined in that first half of the 20th century. Slowly the cemetery line fell into disuse, not helped by the railway lines serving the station in London being heavily bombed in 1941. It never recovered from that attack. The building didn't close though. It continued as offices for the London Necropolis Company until the 1970s.

1941: Bomb Damage Behind the Necropolis Station
So next time you find yourself in London, south of the river heading into town – give this building a little thought, solemnly standing there as if waiting for a train .....


  1. What a suprisingly fascinating story. Thank you very much for sharing the history of this building with us.

  2. Who would have thought there was such a thing. We are shielded from that kind of logistical nightmare nowadays.