• Norwood Forum

West Norwood Cemetery: HLF Parks for People project


One of London’s large ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, West Norwood Cemetery opened in 1837 to relieve the overcrowding in small parish graveyards caused by the huge increase in the capital’s population during the 19th century. Grade II* listed, West Norwood was the first in the UK to be designed in the Gothic Revival style. It is home to 69 listed monuments, many of which have become run down in recent years.

HLF Parks for People Funding

A partnership of Lambeth Council and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery successfully applied for National Lottery funding (£4.5m), awarded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund.  The ‘New Beginning’ vision for the project is to achieve a balance between burials and bereavement, expanded community uses, nature and landscape and heritage, culture and history, in order to provide an enhanced, and sustainable, community asset.

The project will achieve this through capital works programme and activities and interpretation plans, which include:

  • Plans for two new pedestrian entrances: at Hubbard Road and Robson Road
  • A new visitor centre provided within the existing cemetery lodge building
  • The repair and conservation of 16 significant monuments and their removal from the ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register
  • Infrastructure works to carriageways, footpaths, drainage and the extensive boundary wall
  • The repair of St Stephens Chapel (Greek Cemetery) to bring it into wider public use as a small-scale events venue
  • Interpretation and wayfinding to provide more ways for visitors to learn and explore
  • An activities, volunteering and interpretation programme to encourage new visitors and greater participation.

West Norwood Cemetery is also a valuable haven for London’s urban critters, with bats, stag beetles, woodpeckers and tawny owls living amongst veteran oak and lime trees. Increased management will enhance the cemetery’s biodiversity and see more people engaging with nature.

Lambeth Council and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery will contribute £2.1m to the project, bringing the total investment to £6.7m. The project commenced in April 2019 and last for five years.  The first six months have largely been spent appointing the Consultants and project manager.

Key delivery milestones


Target Date

Design Specifications

October 2019 – February 2020

Procurement of Contractors

February 2020 – July 2020

Capital works: Drainage and Footpaths work

August 2020 – January 2021

Capital Works: The Lodge / Visitor Centre

October 2020 – July 2021

Bereavement Services Staff ‘de-cant’ and Visitor Centre internal re-fit

July 2021 – September 2021

Capital Works: Monuments, Boundary Wall and St Stephen’s Chapel

August 2020 – August 2021

Interpretation Consultant in post delivering Interpretation Installations

February 2021 – November 2021

Transition Manager in post to embed visitor facilities and visitor experience.

July 2021 – December 2022

End of capital works / Project ‘launch’

October 2021

Activities Plan delivery continues (phase 2 – matured model utilising new assets)

October 2021 – March 2024

Delivery-Phase project end

March 2024


The Cemetery continues to be managed by the Scheme of Management Committee (SOM) and its supporting Advisory Group. The Council has established an Implementation Board to oversee the HLF project, and a Strategic Board responsible for matters not pertaining to the HLF project. Norwood Forum is represented on the two Boards and attends the SOM and Advisory Group meetings; please feel free to raise queries with us at info@norwoodforum.org.

Get involved

The project has its own website for further information, including volunteering activities. The Council website also has an information page.