|Location||Kew Meadow Path |
United Kingdom Area: Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
|Owner||London boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames|
|Management||Mortlake Crematorium Board|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough Council|
|Official name||Mortlake Crematorium|
|Designated||5 May 2011|
The crematorium serves the boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames in the west and south-west of London. It is managed by a board made up of three elected councillors from each of these four boroughs.
Citing it as "a rare example" of Art Deco design in the borough, Richmond upon Thames Council has described it as "a building of exceptional quality and character". Environmentalist Colin Hines describes it as "probably the most undiscovered deco treasure in London". Hilary Grainger, writing in Encyclopedia of Cremation, describes the architectural style as Italianate and the building as having "beautiful cloisters with discrete brick detailing". It has been a Grade II listed building since 2011, being assessed by Historic England as having "a distinctive Art Deco design that survives little altered in a compact and practical composition".
The crematorium is on Kew Meadow Path, Townsmead Road, Kew. It is situated on the south bank of the River Thames by Chiswick Bridge and in Clifford Avenue, adjoining Mortlake Cemetery (Hammersmith New Cemetery) in the angle of Mortlake Road (which forms part of the A205, the South Circular Road) and the A316 road. The nearest train stations are Kew Gardens (for London Underground and London Overground trains) and Mortlake (for South Western Railway services).
It was licensed in 1936 under the Mortlake Crematorium Act 1936, thereby becoming the first to be established under its own Act of Parliament. Designed by Douglas Barton, borough surveyor to Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough Council, the building was constructed in three years at a cost of £27,000. It was also equipped with a Garden of Remembrance for the burial or scattering of ashes, and also offered panels and niches in which ashes could be deposited. When the facility was finally opened in January 1939 by Lord Horder, the then Physician to the King, he said: "You seem to have eliminated the sombreness of atmosphere which sometimes shrouds buildings such as these". After that, there was very little change in Mortlake Crematorium's outward appearance until 1982, when Colin Gilbert, an architect from Ealing, designed additional gardens between the crematorium and the River Thames. Since 2015 the crematorium has had a memorial garden dedicated to the memory of babies and children, based on Doris Stickley's story "Water Bugs and Dragonflies".
Three new, larger cremators were installed in the crematory in 2012.
Among those cremated here were:
Seventy-seven Commonwealth servicemen of World War II were cremated here and their names are listed on a screen wall memorial erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the adjoining Mortlake Cemetery (Hammersmith New Cemetery). They include England rugby international Vivian Davies (1899-1941), who was a Captain in the Royal Artillery.