Save Woodgrange Park Cemetery
By Kay MacKay, November 2, 2000
Woodgrange Park Cemetery, located in Manor Park, Newham, London,
England, is privately owned and has been allowed to sell off part
of the burial grounds where 14,000 remains were laid for the development
of housing. This was allowed by an Act of Parliament, called the
Woodgrange Park Cemetery Act 1993, which allowed the Law to be changed
in order that the development could go ahead.
Woodgrange has been totally neglected by the owner and previous
owner and vast areas of private graves have been cleared of the
headstones and new graves buried on top. Unless relatives live locally
or pay to have their graves maintained they can be cleared and reused
within one year and a day. The cost of maintaining one grave yet
alone two or three or more could become an impossible task particularly
for retired relatives.
Little was done to ensure that possible relatives of those buried
in the redevelopment area (mainly Square 11 and surrounding, many
common graves and we are told war casualties of the second world
war are buried.) were contacted other than notices posted in the
Earlier this year two of the National Newspapers posted articles
and photographs of the removal of the remains, because of this families
throughout the World realised that they had relatives buried in
the cemetery, and sadly for many, within the area of re-development.
Newham Council were inundated with telephone calls but had very
little information to pass on to those enquiring. They had a list
of some 200 names out of 14,000. Only 30 families were able to arrange
to have their relatives move d and reburied in a proper grave.
I had at least four of my family within the development area and
started to investigate this matter. This has been ongoing since
April this year, and little help has been given to those of us trying
to obtain information. I have been in contact with Newham Council,
the Home Office and one MP who has made some enquires for us and
correspondence has been exchanged within the last eight months.
However, it has now come to the stage where no action is being
taken. Six weeks ago I visited the cemetery with representatives
of the above and were shocked to find that human remains
were scattered both within and throughout the immediate area of
development! This was the second visit of the MP and these findings
were the same as in the first visit. There is also concern that
the area has not been "cleaned" i.e. that all remains have been
removed from below ground.
Immediately after the visit I wrote to the Home Office and Newham
to request that the development work by stopped pending a full investigation,
no action has been taken.
I am therefore enclosing the attached Petition,
I would be very grateful if you would offer your support to this
Petition and pass on to anyone who would be prepared to sign and
pass on to others who may have concerns regarding what has happened
at this Cemetery. I propose that you collect a page of signatures
(either by email or by a written document) and then forward them
to me at Katy@cwcom.net or visit
the Woodgrange Cemetery website at: http://www.woodgrange.freehosting.net
- Kay MacKay