The living could soon reside where the dead once rested on their way to their final resting place, as the Necropolis railway station in Waterloo could be turned into flats.
As London’s graveyards overflowed and cemeteries were built on the outskirts of London, the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company was granted permission to build a huge cemetery in Woking.
In order to get the dead from London to Woking, they went by train. As Waterloo station passengers probably wouldn’t want to see the dead passing through the station, a dedicated Necropolis station was built just down the road.
The cemetery and railway link opened in 1854.
The Necropolis station we see today on Westminster Bridge Road is the second station, as an earlier one was removed to allow for the expansion of Waterloo station.
The surviving building opened in 1902 with its grand stone and red-brick frontage, and an upper floor glass-covered first-class reception. Everyone else used a separate entrance around the corner in Newnham Terrace.
In Victorian London, even the dead worried about what class you belonged to.
The back of the building and the trackside platform was badly damaged during WW2 and the station effectively closed in 1941. The station was much larger than it seems today, as much of it has since been torn down and replaced with an office block, leaving really just the entrance building for first-class passengers.
If you zoom in (free registration needed) on this photo, you can see the remaining platform and railway tracks, and just to the north, the surviving building.
The other survivor is the railway arches that supported the since vanished platform, and a lot of that space is now occupied by a series of portacabins rented out as artists space by Make Space.
The surviving building is currently occupied as an office.
The developers want to convert it into five 2-bed flats and one 3-bed flat, with the space increased by adding a rear extension over the back yard.
The council has already indicated that the loss of office space needs to be justified for the application to be approved, although the developer says that the building cannot justifiably be upgraded for modern office requirements, and it’s been difficult to find office tenants for the building in its current state.
If it does get approval, people will soon be sleeping inside a railway station for the dead.