London has several transport links, but did you know that there was one that used to carry dead people and their mourners?
The London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 and carried coffins from the Waterloo station to Brookwood cemetery. There were separate hearse cars for Anglicans and Dissenters, and three classes of carriage for the living and the dead.
A First Class corpse received a higher level of customer care and nicely decorated carriage. Trains ran straight into the cemetery grounds, there were two stations, each for different parts of the cemetery, North for Dissenters and South for Anglicans, adjacent to the corresponding chapels. The South Station was licensed and in addition for funeral parties, offered afternoon tea to visitors strolling in the cemetery, it also operated as a pub, which did much to reconcile the locals to the giant cemetery on their doorstep.
Brookwood received the dead from overcrowded London parishes, in a series of subdivisions, many of which resemble old-fashioned churchyards with their hedges and lynch-gates. As well as accomodating Anglicans and Dissenters, Brookwood was one of the first cemeteries in Britain to offer burial facilities to Muslims and Sikhs.
The two stations in the cemetery were demolished during the 1960s and the ruins later caught fire. The tracks were long since lifted away to be melted or reused elsewhere. In London, the entrance building to the private station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road remains largely intact, but the name Necropolis Cemetery Station that was once inscribed is no longer there.
I love living in London, so many unusual things to discover that make a weirdo like me very happy!