- Hermitage Road, St. Johns, Woking, Surrey, GU21 8TJ
- 01483 472197
Woking's Crematorium, the first in the country, was founded in 1878, when a piece of land close to St John's Village was bought by Sir Henry Thompson, surgeon to Queen Victoria and founder of The Cremation Society. The acre of land was purchased with the aid of subscriptions at £200 each, from the London Necropolis Company, who established the nearby Brookwood Cemetery.
On 26th March 1885, the first cremation in England took place at Woking. The deceased was a Mrs Jeannette C. Pickersgill, a well-known figure in literary and scientific circles. By year's end, only 3 cremations took place out of 597,357 deaths in the UK. By 1901, with 6 crematoria established, only 427 cremations took place out of 551,585 deaths - less than one-tenth percent. However, by the end of the century (2000), over 240 crematoria were in use. Over 70% of the deceased were cremated (437,609 out of 611,960 deaths)
By 1911, the original one acre site was extended to 10 acres and now the country's first Book of Remembrance, dating back to 1940, is held there. Famous people cremated here have included Thomas Hardy, Dr Barnardo and the Marquis of Queensbury.
Directions: The Crematorium is just outside St Johns village, on Hermitage Road. Limited parking is available on site and buses to the village are frequent.