Designed by Joseph Paxton (who also designed Crystal Palace) and opened in 1847, London Road Cemetery covers an area of 42 acres (17-hectares). Prior to being a cemetery it was quarry. Today it has beautiful winding paths around and across the mature tree lined pathways. There is much green grass where graves have subsided, disappeared or been demolished.
London Road Cemetery Features
It is one of the best preserved Victorian cemeteries in the UK, although it did suffer some damage during the Second World War from German air raids. However a number of original buildings and structures have survived and can be seen. As a group, the buildings were given Grade II listing status. These include:
- The entrance Lodge.
- Prospect Tower.
- The Paxton Memorial (erected in 1868).
- An Anglican chapel.
- A non-conformist chapel.
- A Jewish chapel.
There are two cemetery chapels located in the grounds; a non-conformist chapel which was designed to look like a classical Greek/Roman temple with two tall colonnades. The Anglican chapel is styled after traditional Norman churches that can be found scattered around the country. It was repaired and finally restored in 2021 with the aid of National Lottery funding, Historic Coventry Trust, the Friends of London Road Cemetery, Coventry City Council with the funding coming from the National Lottery Heritage fund and the National Lottery Community Fund. The work included restoration of the promenade, the mortuary chapel and bier store.
In the south-east corner of the cemetery, a 20th-century brick chapel lies with a small Jewish cemetery.
- 94 scattered war graves of Commonwealth service personnel.
- 1 Belgium soldier's grave of the First World War.
- 123 Commonwealth service war graves of the Second World War.
- 808 civilian victims of the Coventry Blitz (in a mass grave).
It is a well-kept and beautiful peaceful place. Old graves are not intermingled with modern graves making it easy to identify the more modern areas of the cemetery.
Although there is an entrance on London Road, it is not quite obvious where the entrance actually is as one drives by. The cemetery was created well before any modern town planner devised the new modern roadways of Coventry. There is no car park or any facilities at the cemetery. Parking is best to the north entrance of the cemetery (running parallel to London Road) in Quarry Lane as there is no parking on the 'dual carriageway' on London Road itself.