Buried deep in the suburbs of East London lies one of the city’s biggest Victorian cemeteries, Nunhead. It became full in the middle of last century and since then much of its 52 acres has become overgrown and in a state of abandonment. Quarter of a million people were laid to rest here.
Consecrated in 1840 it became one of London’s so called Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries.
Restoration efforts began in the 1880s and part of the cemetery has since re opened.
The cemetery became a popular burial place for non believers and its Dissenter’s Row became the final destination for non Christians.
Among the memorials here is the Scottish Political Martyr’s Column erected to commemorate five campaigners who took up the cause of democracy at the end of the 18th century and were transported to Australia in 1793 just after the first penal settlement was founded there.
The Martyrs had formed a group called Friends of the People and had called for parliamentary reform as the mass of people had no vote and only men of property were then allowed to sit in Parliament . They were subject to trial under the Government of William Pitt the Younger , convicted of sedition and sentenced to transportation for a period of seven to 14 years.
There is also a small plot of graves here of Australian soldiers , along with Canadians and New Zealanders, who lost their lives during World War 1. Their gravesites are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission .