Now a Local Nature Reserve, the Nunhead Cemetery reopened to the public in 2001 with forty historic monuments restored, but much of the property is still overgrown.
Originally known as The Nunhead Cemetery of All Saints, it was established in 1840 on 52 acres of land as one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” Victorian era park-cemeteries.
Comprised of Kensal Green, Highgate, West Norwood, Abney Park, Nunhead, Brompton and Tower Hamlets cemeteries, the Magnificent Seven were created in 1832 as part of an effort to move burials out of the City of London in response to the twin pressure of health concerns about overcrowded churchyard cemeteries and desires for buildable land in the rapidly expanding city.
Damaged during bombing in WWII and suffering from the general neglect and decline of most of London’s great cemeteries, by mid-20th century Nunhead was considerably overgrown with many monuments in poor repair or damaged completely. Local efforts have gotten the property declared a Local Nature Reserve. Although many monuments have been restored, many parts of the property are still quite wild. Today a group called the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery (FONC) works to support the site and reveal its history, and offers regular guided tours.
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