The cemetery was opened in 1859 because the small churchyard at the Parish Church of St Peter in Farnborough was full due to the large number of military burials which took place after the Crimean War. Many of the soldiers returning to their base in North Camp died of their wounds and had to be buried in Farnborough as the North Camp was within the parish boundary.
It was built by David Smith, builder, of Frimley at a cost of £283 and it took 2 months to build. It was consecrated in 1859, and the the first burial was that of Anne Beagley. It is now estimated that the cemetery holds about 5000 graves. Whilst many families have graves and memorials within the cemetery one name which appears regularly is the Matthews famly who were fairground workers dating back to the 1850s. One of these was "Chewbaccy" Matthews who was a well-known local fist fighter who died on 21st March 1890. His son Billy "Red Shirt" Matthews, who also worked in the fairgrounds, and had plots when the fair would visit Cove Green, died on 14th February 1922 (image 6).
The cemetery is also the last resting place of many local high-profile figures such as property develoer William Knell (image 1) who died on 3rd May 1886 and who's local buildings included Knellwood, The Bifrons and The Sycamores. Close by is Thomas Longman (images 2 and 3), who died on 30th August 1879 and who built Farnborough Hill before it was bought by the Empress Eugenie. Edward Greene (image 4), who built many schools in Farnborough such as The Oaks, The Beeches and Greencroft, and who died on 9th May 1887 is also laid to rest. And nearby also lies Colonel Tredenham Fitzherbert Carylon (image 5) who built the Tredenham House Hotel which is now the site of Tredenham Close. The grave of Hugh Archibald Renwick (image 10), who died on 19th August 1918, shows a standard Services headstone which was common during wartimee.
When the chapel was still in active use for funerals the bell would be rung either nine times, six times or three times depending on whether it was a man, woman, or child's funeral. And, although now no longer in use the cemetery used to have an additional gate, termed the "Sexton's Gate" which the sexton at the time, Mr Hammond, would use. Today this gate, which went onto Station Road is blocked off.
Other prominent individuals who are buried in the cemetery include General Sir Reginald Ramsey Gipps (images 13 and 14) who's father Sir George Gipps became governor of New South Wales in 1837 and who's name is the origin of Gippsland in Victoria, Australia. Reginald Gipps, who died on 10th September 1908, fought in the Crimean War, including at Balaclava, and lived at The Sycamores for a time. His youngest son George Lancelot Gipps (images 15 and 16) is also buried in the cemetery and was killed in a plane crash on 26th January 1914.
Other notable graves include Frederick and Florence Andrewartha (image 11) who lend their names to Andrewartha Road in South Farnborough; and the recent grave of Albert Wilkinson (image 12) who died on 29th July 2003 and who's family owned the Wilkys store, which was located on Invincible Road.
Return to Victoria Road Chapel on the virtual tour.
Information courtesy of Arthur Lunn