Woking Borough Council commissioned Mei Loci to develop the design for the landscape and monument at Brookwood Cemetery. As part of the expansion of Euston Station, Brookwood Cemetery was identified as the location for the reburial of over 14,000 human remains from the former burial ground at St James’s Gardens, Euston. Originally conceived by the London Necropolis Company in 1849 as a principal burial ground in London, Brookwood was chosen due to its long history of London burials being relocated there, particularly in the mid-19th century. In addition to the reburial, a monument was to be provided to commemorate the persons reburied in a solemn yet striking landscape that captured the essence of St James’s Gardens.
- To create a landscape and monument that are respectful to those exhumed from St James Gardens and reburied within Brookwood Cemetery.
- Ensure that the proposals are appropriate within their context, and reflect and acknowledge the historic value and natural character of Brookwood Cemetery.
- Respect the design principles, developed by Loudon, which have shaped parts of Brookwood Cemetery.
- Develop proposals that are sustainable in terms of materials specification and enhance the ecological value of the Cemetery through species-diverse soft landscape proposals.
- Create a meaningful link to St James Gardens through landscape design, monument and interpretation.
- Create a space that fits within the overall strategies outlined within the Brookwood Masterplan both in terms of the function of the site and the requirement for ongoing financial viability.
- To provide an interpretation that is unique, engaging and informative without conflicting with the design styles of Brookwood Cemetery.
The project team
Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)- Conservation and Archeology
Advance Consulting – Civil Engineers
Richard Gowan- Structural Engineers
Albion Stone– Stonemasonry
Blu3 – Contractors
Photo credits © Mei Loci
Client Team: Mace Dragados Joint Venture (MDJV) & HS2
In my judgment, the proposed memorial is fitting and appropriate not just for today but also for the future. I regard it as a scheme of the highest quality and find that it is appropriate for a faculty to be issued as described in the petition, the statement of needs and significance and specification of materials and design.”
The Worshipful Andrew Burns KC, Chancellor, The Consistory Court of the Diocese of Guildford
Both the landscape and monument designs were developed to symbolically reunite the burial population and enhance the connection between the original burial plots in St James’s Gardens and the new location at Brookwood Cemetery, with the axis of the site at Brookwood aligned to point along the linear path back to St James’s Gardens in London. In addition, the form of the monument was designed to reflect the historic shape of St James’s Gardens with the break in the rectangular form echoing the fracturing of the site by the Cardington Street which cut through it in the 19th Century. To honour the bodies reburied, a poem of Christian remembrance was created by Mei Loci and inscribed on the face of the monument.
Throughout the process, a strong programme of significant consultations was undertaken to ensure the continued support and advice of key bodies, such as Historic England and the Church of England Archbishops’ Council. Other consultees included:
Church of England – Guilford Diocesan Advisory Committee
Brookwood Cemetery management
Brookwood Cemetery Society
Surrey Wildlife Trust
WBC. Drainage, Highways and Environmental Health
Saint Edward Brotherhood
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community