london photography vivien leigh

Final Destination: Golders Green

Golders Green crematorium

Consider this 31 Days of the Oliviers {days 10-15}.

There have been many posts around the classic film blogosphere lately documenting visits to cemeteries where the rich and famous are interred. Okay, so all of these posts have come from Meredith at Dear Mr. Gable, but they’re fascinating. I have a long-standing fascination with cemeteries, particularly victorian ones such as Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA, and Highgate Cemetery in North London (which I visited a few months ago and posted about on my photography blog). They are beautiful, somewhat creepy and endlessly fascinating. There are many burial grounds in London. Whether out in the open or inside cathedrals, if you visit one you’re almost guaranteed to spot a famous person’s grave.

Today I went to snap photos at a place that’s slightly different from your traditional cemetery. Golders Green Crematorium is one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. Its gates opened in 1902, and it has been providing non-secular cremations and funeral services for both celebrities and the general public ever since. Fans of Vivien Leigh may find it interesting because she was cremated here in 1967 before her ashes were scattered at Tickerage Mill. Some of the notable names who still remain at Golders Green include Ivor Novello, Alexander Korda, Elisabeth Bergner, Keith Moon, Sigmund Freud, Conrad Veidt, Anna Pavlova and Peter Sellers, among others.

The grounds and garden are very beautiful, especially now that the foliage has donned Autumn colors. It was very quiet and peaceful when I visited this afternoon, with only one or two people resting on the benches in the garden, taking in the afternoon sun and possibly thinking of a departed loved one. As it is a crematorium and not a cemetery, there are no grave stones. Ashes are kept in urns inside the chapels or are scattered on the lawns in the garden. Plaques adorn the walls as well as sit at the base of rose bushes and trees that have been dedicated in memory of the dead.

Golders Green Crematorium can be reached via Golders Green tube or by bus from Golders Green road. It’s very easy to find–located just across the street from the Jewish cemetery.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean/

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (8)

  1. Hi Kendra … Just wanted to let you know that I found this post really interesting, and your photos are GORGEOUS!! I’m so glad you thought to go and check this place out and let us all see what it’s about … it’s nothing at all like I had imagined it. Great work as always!

    How’s your life going now that you’ve had a little time to recover from your dissertation? I’m very interested & excited to see what comes next for you! Best regards as always … DAVID

    P.S.: I’ve really enjoyed the series of old magazine articles you’ve been posting about Larry & Vivien.

    1. Hi David,

      Many thanks! It’s really quite beautiful and very peaceful. I was actually surprised by the amount of green space and foliage that had been laid out in the elaborate garden.

      Life is going fairly well, although I have to admit I’m still stuck in the post-school limbo phase. Desperately trying to find work over here and really hoping things will work out with my book project. I think I’m stressing out unnecessarily, but I can’t help it. I just need something to happen to set me on track.

      1. It WILL work out for you, Kendra … you’ve got too much talent in so many different areas, it’s a given that someone’s gonna’ come along and snap you up!

        I wish you’d check in with your old friend Robert Osbourne and see if there isn’t something suitable for you at TCM. Surely they could use someone with your knowledge of film and writing skills (perhaps working on their monthly magazine??). Also you’d be a natural on camera. He’s met you … I’d be surprised if he didn’t agree with me! It would be so great to see you discussing various films with him. I would think this website would be the best possible “resume” to recommend and showcase all your different talents!

        As for your book, I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for that to work out. Please keep us posted on it’s progress … I can hardly wait to see it!

        You take care, Kendra, and don’t get discouraged … I’m sure things are going to work out well for you! All the best as always … DAVID

  2. Really good photos of both cemetaries.Try Kensal Green Cemetary,I’ve never been,but it looks interesting and I believe has a fascinating history.

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