The Islington and St. Pancras Cemetery in East Finchley, North London while situated in the London Borough of Barnet is actually two cemeteries, owned by two other London Boroughs, Camden (formerly St Pancras) and Islington. It is the largest cemetery in London, and includes some famous residents.
The cemetery was established in 1852 as the first municipally owned cemetery in London when the St Pancras Burial Board bought 88 acres (360,000 m2) of the former Horseshoe Farm on Finchley Common. A further 94 acres (380,000 m2) were annexed in 1877 and the total area was divided between Islington and Camden, the former having two areas to the north-west and east, the latter having the remainder. A bank and ditch along the eastern edge marks the parish boundary between Finchley and Hornsey. To the south the cemetery is bordered by the ancient woodland of Coldfall Wood, to the north the North Circular road and to the west by the A1000 Great North Road. The cemetery features several chapels and a large crematorium built in 1937.
The cemetery has a war graves plot containing over 100 graves from both world wars, together with a number of headstones retrieved from graves that were scattered elsewhere in the cemetery and could not be maintained. A memorial bears the names of 27 casualties whose graves could not be marked individually, and of six First World War casualties buried in adjacent Islington Cemetery who could not be commemorated there. John Ross who gained the Victoria Cross is also buried here.
There are many interesting graves at the cemetery, including a grave put up by the St Pancras Board to celebrate members of their Parish who had reached the 100 years milestone. A number of famous people are also buried here, including wealthy industrialist and humanitarian Ludwig Mond whose family built a large mausoleum for him, first "pearly king" Henry Croft, Pre-Raphaelite artist Ford Madox Brown and first Mayor of Islington William Crump.
A wide variety of habitats can be found in Greater London's cemeteries. St Pancras and Islington Cemetery is a good example, as it supports areas of neutral grassland, wetland, scrub and secondary woodland.
The London Ecology Unit has advised the owners on management aimed to conserve natural features, whilst recognising the primary use of the cemetery as a burial ground. In recent years, there has been a policy of informed indifference to areas that are not in active use for burials. The result has been a proliferation of natural wildlife. Large tracts of scrub and secondary woodland have been allowed to develop on former burial plots, supplementing the original plantings, and producing an exceptionally diverse habitat.
This mixed secondary woodland consists largely of sycamore and ash, with much pedunculate oak, hawthorn and willow. Some exotic ornamental trees have been introduced from time to time, including avenues of limes and horse chestnuts, Lawson's cypress, various pines, yew and monkey-puzzle.
Holly and bramble woodland flora grows beneath the trees and alongside paths, including bluebells, pignut, goldilocks buttercup, cuckoo flower, bugle, and wild strawberry. These have spread from the adjacent woodland, or survived from the cemetery's prior existence as Horseshoe Farm.
In the north-east corner of the cemetery, the Strawberry Vale Brook, culverted for most of its length, emerges into an open course. Wetland habitats here contain mature White Willow, rushes, reedmace, marsh thistle, pendulous sedge, and great willowherb.
Year-round inhabitants include green and great spotted woodpeckers, coal tit, chaffinch, treecreeper, goldcrest and kestrel, as well as all the commoner scrub-loving species like dunnock, wren and blackbird. The spring sees the arrival of chiffchaff, blackcap, willow warbler and lesser whitethroat, while in the winter redwing and fieldfare are a common sight.
Redirecting to St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery