For 87 years the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company operated one train daily. The 11:35 service ran from Westminster Bridge Road station in the City to Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey – via Necropolis Junction – and its passenger load was London’s recently deceased.
The line’s first train set off in 1854, at a time when London was facing a crisis of overcrowding in cemeteries. Brookwood and the Necropolis Railway provided an innovative solution to the crowding by transporting corpses out of the city and into its rural surroundings along a dedicated line.
This image is of the railway’s second station, next to Waterloo, which was opened in 1902 and designed by Cyril Bazett Tubbs. The building, in a marked departure from the gloom of orthodox funereal architecture, exhibited an up-to-date metropolitan opulence.
First-class mourners were escorted into the station along a corridor of glazed white bricks, lined with palm and bay trees and could take an elevator to the platform. Third-class passengers meanwhile used a secondary entrance, were greeted with sparse decoration, and had to take the stairs. p (gk)