London Road Cemetery

View inside London Road Cemetery, Coventry. The plot chosen for the cemetery was an undulating one. Part of it had been a stone quarry, and there was a natural valley in it. Paxton wanted to follow the lie of the land and make it as natural as possible, and it is this which gives it its parkland character: it was "so imaginatively laid out that it became a favourite promenade for the townspeople" (Stephens). [Click on these images to enlarge them.]

London Road Cemetery

Another general view ofthe graves.

Equally important is the way that it was planted. This was a time of botanical discovery, when people like Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker travelled the globe in search of new varieties, and brought specimens back home with them. Paxton, like the Scottish J. C. Loudon (1783-1843) before him, thought that cemeteries could be immensely enriched by suitable planting as well as lay-out. He had already succeeded admirably in developing an arboretum at Chatsworth, so here, from the start, "it was intended that the cemetery should contain a wide range of exotic forest trees" ("Historic Development" preceding the listing text). According to the cemetery's own website, "the quarry, the chapels and the little sheltered valley which flows between the entrance and the Anglican Chapel, were the first areas to be planted. There were also irregular belts of vegetation on the periphery and the trees lining the serpentine walks."

London Road Cemetery

Graves, looking north.

On a visit here, Simon Cooke reported, "The aforesaid London Road is now an extremely busy dual carriage-way, but barely any of the noise penetrates into the cemetery, which is well-maintained but entirely empty apart from ourselves. It's also, thankfully, free of vandalism and most of the graves are in good order compared to many other burial grounds." Interestingly, there is a reason for the tranquility here: "In contrast to the informality of the rest of the cemetery is the monumental, straight, Terrace Walk (Paxton's term; walls listed grade II) which runs south from the lodge down the east side of the site for c. 100m. This serves two functions: it provides a visual and auditory barrier between the cemetery and London Road, and provides a promenade giving views west across the burial ground" ("Historic Development" preceding the listing text).

Photographs by Laurence Cooke; captions as well as final comment by Simon Cooke; commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Stephens, W. B., ed. "The City of Coventry: Introduction." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8, the City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick. London: Victoria County History, 1969. 1-23. British History Online. Web. 1 August 2019.

Hall, Ann. "John Robertson of Baslow — Architect." Friends of Princes Park. Web. 31 July 2019. [This is a very useful and relevant piece of research.]

"London Road Cemetery, Coventry." Historic England. Web. 31 July 2019.

"The London Road Cemetery" (the cemetery's own site). Web. 31 July 2019.

Poole, Benjamin. The New History of Coventry, Being a Concise Account of its Ancient Institutions, Customs, and Public Buildings. Later ed. Coventry: D. Lewin, 1862. Google Books. Free Ebook. Web 31 July 2019.

Created 1 August 2019