|HCC Site ID:||1827||Parish:||Eastleigh|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Eastleigh Borough Council|
Location and site
Eastleigh Cemetery is located at the end of Brookwood Avenue in the heart of a residential area just to the northwest of Eastleigh’s central shopping area. It is bounded to the north by the railway line, to the south by housing, to the west by allotments, and to the east by an industrial estate and further housing. The ground is level, and entry is through iron gates with a lodge on the left hand side.
Historical Development Summary
Until the coming of the railway in the late 1830s, Eastley was little more than a collection of farmsteads. According to the census of 1841, in which the tithings of Barton and Eastley were dealt with together, the total population was 80, living in 13 houses. Eight of these houses were in Barton and were the property of the Cranbury estate, and the five houses in Eastley belonged to the Brambridge estate.
The OS 1st ed 25″ map of 1867-86 shows the site of the cemetery as farmland, bordered to the north by the Bishopstoke and Salisbury branch line of the London and South Western Railway.
In the 1880s, the railway company moved its Carriage and Wagon Works from Nine Elms to Bishopstoke, and an extensive building programme was started to house the workers. The OS 2nd ed 25″ map of 1896-97 shows the layout of the New Town and the grid pattern of housing already built to the west of the railway station.
By 1892 Eastleigh had a population of 6,000 and in 1893 an Eastleigh Local Board was created, becoming the Urban District of Eastleigh in January 1895, with powers to deal with sanitation in its own area. In 1898 Eastleigh Cemetery opened to the west and north of the new housing developments and the first burial took place in 1901.
The OS 3rd ed 25″ map of 1909 shows the new cemetery 5.092 acres in area and roughly square-shaped, bounded by the railway to the north and with no buildings visible to the immediate south, east and west. The entrance is via Brookwood Avenue to the south, with an entrance lodge just inside the cemetery.
By 1946 the cemetery had been enlarged westwards to cover 10 acres. The OS 4th ed 25″ map of 1933-46 shows allotment gardens to the south and southeast, which had been replaced by housing by 2018.
The layout in 2019 has changed little over the past 80 years: entrance is via Brookwood Avenue and there is vehicular access past the lodge and along the main avenues of the cemetery. Tall conifers along these avenues, probably planted in the 1890s, lend the site a dignity and a maturity appropriate to its purpose. A fine tall cedar stands at the former centre of the older smaller cemetery. A row of mature deciduous trees, mainly lime, mask the railway embankment to the north, and a row of evergreens perform the same function on the eastern side, where there is an industrial estate and housing. Housing is visible along the southern edge, though softened by a low scrubby hedge, whilst allotments can be seen to the west. The site is well-maintained with mown grass, small beds containing shrubs, hardy perennials, acers and flowering cherry trees along the main avenue. There are separate burial sections for Muslims and Nepalese Gurkhas, War Graves, and a Garden of Remembrance. In the War Graves section, a tree planted in 2004 commemorates D-Days 60 years previously. The Garden of Remembrance is a secluded area, with a low-key water sculpture and benches. According to its wildlife management plan, the cemetery will keep an area of 1356 square meters as a reptile habitat with longer grass, managed brambles and wildflowers. This is intended to create a wildlife corridor linking the railway embankment and the allotment site.
Summary and Significance
A well-kept urban cemetery created in 1898 following the expansion of Eastleigh as a railway town and still serving its population in 2019. Despite its proximity to the railway and the town centre, it retains an air of peacefulness and seclusion appropriate to its purpose.
HGT Research:October 2019
- OS 1st ed 25″ 1867-86
OS 2nd ed 25″ 1896-97
OS 3rd ed 25″ 1909
OS 4th ed 25″ 1933-46
OS Mastermap 1:2000 2018
(EBC) Eastleigh Borough Council – https://www.eastleigh.gov.uk/our-community/births-deaths-and-ceremonies/eastleigh-cemetery Aug 2019
(EDLHS) A Short History of Eastleigh by Eastleigh & District Local History Society –
http://www.eastleighhistory.org.uk/sites/default/files/document/A%20Short%20History%20of%20Eastleigh%20%231.pdf – accessed September 2019
Click here to visit Eastleigh Cemetery webpage