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Northfleet was governed by a Local Board of Health between 1874 and1894. In 1891 they decided to provide a municipal cemetery as St Botolph’s parish churchyard was becoming rather full.

Cemetery Lodge at Northfleet Cemetery
Cemetery Lodge at Northfleet Cemetery

 

The Local Board bought 15 acres of Brookvale Farm from the owner Mr Sayer for £2,700. It was not intended to use all the land for a cemetery and after considering various ideas the land was finally used for a cemetery, recreation ground and allotments.

 

Designs for the cemetery and its buildings were invited and James Walford was appointed architect.  The building work was carried out by Mr W H Martin of Gravesend and the clerk to the works was Mr Philbey of Perry Street.

 

Building work began in autumn 1892 and the first burial was that of Martha Cheal, on 18 November 1893. She was buried in a common grave costing £1.

 

It was estimated that the original land set aside for burials would be sufficient for 200 years (until 2093). However, it became necessary to extend the cemetery twice by 1965 to the size it is today.

 

James T Walford

The NorthfleetCemetery architect was London-born James T Walford. His name first appears in street directories for Northfleet in 1890. He lived at River View, 18 London Road, Northfleet. The 1891 census shows that he lived there with his wife, daughter and niece. Before moving to Northfleet he was part of the partnership of Pollard and Walford who worked on many church designs.

 

The last entry for James Walford in Northfleet street directories was in 1897. In 1903 he was known to have worked on St John the Evangelist RC Church, Portobello, Edinburgh.