Kemnal Park

Charles 11 Comments


Burial of the Unknown Parishioner, Kemnal Park


We were unable to attend the opening of the new cemetery at Kemnal Park, and were sad about that. We’ve heard good things. Anyone been there? This is from their press release: 

London’s largest and most important burial development in the last 100 years officially opened its gates last week.  Having successfully completed a pilot phase, The Mayor of Bromley, Counsellor Ernest Noad was in attendance to cut the ceremonial ribbon.  With over 30,000 plots accompanied by memorial gardens for ashes, Kemnal Park is providing much needed burial space for Bromley and the surrounding boroughs.  

Michael Burke, Operations Director comments ‘For too long have we accepted that cemeteries are a place to be tolerated – that average standards are just what they are.  At Kemnal Park, we will go a long way to resolve the inner and outer city challenge of lack of burial space AND we will set new levels of expectations while doing so.  Aiming to focus on the celebration of life as much as the mourning of death and maintaining an environment to which families and friends look forward to returning to reflect on their loved ones.’


  1. Charles

    Of course we all applaud this fine initiative, don’t we, and the resonant symbolism of the burial of the Unknown Parishioner, so I’m sorry to sound a critical note (easily ignored, I’m sure) but: Mr Burke says “..Aiming to focus on the celebration of lifer as much as the mourning of death…”

    That really isn’t for him to say. Each family, friendship group, celebrant/minister will decide for themselves on the balance between these two things – or even if there are both elements in any given funeral. Happily, he has no way of controlling such things!

    OK, whinge over – bravo for Kemnal Park.

  2. Charles

    I can’t sing Kemnal Parks praises enough. Michael and his team have focused on and deliver very high levels of customer care and an attention to detail I haven’t seen anywhere else. Sarah, Jordan and Helen really know how to make things happen, an unflappable crew.
    The design is a real breath of fresh air, especially when compared to the “IKEA” chapels that have opened in and round London in recent years.

  3. Charles

    It’s always refreshing to see a ‘new broom’ initiative and a declared commitment to service. This offer is a bit perplexing, however:

    ‘While the service is taking place, a lounge area is available for Funeral Directors with light refreshments being provided free of charge.’

  4. Charles

    Dean’s words from last year at the burial pictured above said this:
    ” How we respect the dead is an indication of how we respect the living; the commitment we have to each other is ongoing, it doesn’t end. We’re bound together by bonds greater and more lasting than others might imagine.”

  5. Charles

    I’m, not wishing to “rain on Kemnal Park” since Greater London needs more burial space but um mm

    and ooh………..yes there’s Barry (Albin) and his team at the impending burial of said “Unknown Parishioner”…………and coincidentally I see that said Barry (who I wish well in recovering from his recent illness) was formerly a Director of a Company associated with the Cemetery, Kemnal Park Limited……and yes, what’s this, I see, Tribute Management Limited (formerly Kemnal Park Limited) was today dissolved following “voluntary strike-off”:

    no doubt and hopefully for the benefit of the local population, business operations are not at all affected since this seems only to be some kind of a peripheral management Company, whereas the entire site is owned by Memorial Holdings Limited (a Jersey registered Company), 31.06% of whose Shares are owned by Gresham House Plc (a UK registered authorised investment trust). None of this information seems to appear on the Cemetery’s own website, let’s hope that the involvement of Corporate shareholders will not result in unreasonably high (ongoing) charges….???



    1. Charles

      their website does includude the following para:-

      “…Kemnal Park is funded through a consortium of investors ranging from institutions to individuals. However, it is worth noting that none of our shareholders are Funeral Directors, therefore the Cemetery represents an offering for the entire Funeral Service trade without any form of competitive conflict…..”


  6. Charles

    Yes – seeing the distinctive Albin uniforms, I did wonder about the ownership too but was reassured by their website..

    I am sure the cemetery management wouldn’t want to mislead anyone, transparency of ownership must be important to them or why mention it – how odd.

    A Jersey based trust owns one of my local competitors – who often describe themselves as independent etc. Their offshore structure makes knowing who is really in control of the business extremely difficult. I think it a real pity that in 2013 we cannot know who actually owns what.

    1. Charles

      Hi David

      I’m assuming that you are referring to a Company whose business activities are other than “pure funeral directing” and have a parent Company who own 99.4% of their share capital and being registered in Guernsey?

      the UK subsidiary, has a registered address in [ ] and as such no doubt pay all UK taxes per se etc etc (- I appreciate that this isn’t your point)

      I’m aware that many shareholders in UK Private Companies have ‘settled their shareholdings’ in trust (under the umbrella of offshore Settlements) and I assume that the majority shareholders in this UK business have done so here but through said Guernsey registered Company

      I agree that it’s disappointing in a way that the ownership of such a business isn’t easily apparent but at least they’re paying taxes here, whereas the structure of Memorial Holdings Limited may possibly be different

      ……and I hope that your own business is doing ok?

      regards, andrew

  7. Charles

    I have conducted funerals at Kemnal Park and had the pleasure of attending their open day which was a lovely occasion. I have nothing but great things to say about Kemnal Park and its staff. There is an open door policy so if you ever have have the chance please visit.
    And if Barry is involved somewhere in the link does not matter to me he is a good man with a class funeral company and did a lovely job with the unknown parishioner.
    The staff at Kemnal park are fantastic with all people, their customer care is second to none which is more important to me than who owns it.

  8. Charles

    I work for Kemnal Park and can confirm that we are owned by a group of investors which is a mix of private investment companies and individuals, there are no Funeral Directors. Barry was a non-exec during the planning process and for a time after we opened and provided much useful guidance to the investors and Albins is a very important client to as are all the Funeral Directors we serve. If you do have any questions please feel free to give me a call or pop in and see any one of our team, we’d be more than happy to show you around and answer your questions.

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