Brookwood Cemetery Pond Restoration – Surrey

Background Information

Brookwood Cemetery, also known as the London Necropolis, is a burial ground in Brookwood, Surrey. It is the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe. The cemetery is a listed Grade I site in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

One of the cemetery’s focal points is the 25 acre Glades of Remembrance and within it the pool of serenity located at the entrance to the park, designed by Edward White in the early 1950s. The Glades was intended to give a more permanent form of memorial for cremated remains in the park. Water has not been seen in the lake for about 20 years. The concrete lining had become cracked and badly leaked water; all previous attempts at sealing had failed.

Scope of the Project

The existing 1950’s concrete pond liner was severely outdated and damaged. This liner was to be removed from the pond in its entirety and replaced with a more natural-looking solution. The location of the islands had to remain as they were active burial sites and extreme caution had to be taken when removing the concrete and relining them.

The inlet to the pond featured a waterfall built from natural stone that had collapsed after years of neglect. We rebuilt the waterfall with a recirculating pump to create the effect of cascading water and a flowing stream to feed the pond. A bridge was required to provide access to memorial sites on both sides of the pool, and the whole area around the pond was to be re-landscaped and planted.

Our Solution

Aquamaintain Ltd were employed as both principal designers and contractors for this project from the outset. Our scheme for the restoration of the pond featured a bentonite clay liner, which would provide a long-lasting natural finish to the pond that blended into its surrounding.

The old concrete liner was broken out using an excavator mounted hydraulic breaker and taken away for recycling in over 40 grab trucks. Once the concrete had been removed the pond was deepened, and marginal shelves for future planting were constructed.

An anchor trench was excavated around the pond’s perimeter to accommodate the liner which was installed using 10, 50m x 2m rolls joined together.

The liner was then surcharged with 300mm of topsoil to hide and protect the liner. The cascade was rebuilt using the original rocks and housed the inlet pipe and recirculation pipework from the main pond. A splash pool was built below the waterfall feeding a narrow stream running down to the pond to create the effect of flowing water and a natural spring.

The finishing touches included landscaping the pond’s surroundings, terrestrial and aquatic planting. We installed power, pumps and fountains. In addition, we designed and installed a bespoke Green oak ornamental bridge.