Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 13:01 UK

Necropolis gets multi-faith area

Brookwood Cemetery
The cemetery was the largest in the world when it was opened

A multi-faith burial ground is to be created in the grounds of the original London Necropolis.

Ten acres of Brookwood Cemetery in Woking is being bought by the borough council so non-Christians can have a dedicated area to bury loved ones.

Former councillor Riasit Khan, who has been calling for a Muslim facility for three years, said he was pleased his plan had been broadened out.

Brookwood was commissioned in 1852 to hold London's dead.

Mr Khan said: "Originally we started off with the Muslim burial ground which we felt was needed for the Muslim community in Woking.

"Now the position has changed as we've got a bit more space at the facility in Brookwood and I think the space should be for all the faiths."

'Historic area'

Muslims were buried in a special area of Horsell Common following World War I but Woking Borough Council said it would not have been practical to reopen the ground.

Ray Morgan, chief executive of the council, said: "[The multi-faith area] is in the historic area of the Brookwood cemetery.

"This plot came on the market, it's 10 acres. It gives the council the some opportunity to provide facilities for the whole community."

Brookwood was the largest cemetery in the world when it opened in 1854.

It was established to solve the problem of overcrowding in London's existing burial grounds.

It is estimated that it holds the graves of more than 240,000 people.

A special railway, known as the Necropolis Railway, was constructed to convey coffins and mourners to Brookwood from a station near London Waterloo.

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