Radnor Street Cemetery, Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Radnor Street Cemetery is under the management of the Swindon Borough Council.
Inside the grounds is a small chapel, which is not used for weekly worship, but in the past was used only when a funeral took place; nowadays it is opened on occasions for displays by the Radnor Street Cemetery Society, who also hold tours of the cemetery - to see their Facebook page Click here.
We are in awe of the Society who work tirelessly in persuit of improving the condition of the Cemetery and bring awareness of its history to Swindon. We have been on several guided tours, where we are taken to particular graves around the cemetery and told about that person. How interesting to hear about these people and it brings home to us that every single one of these graves has a story to tell, a story that is part of Swindon's history.
Outside the chapel is a War memorial (no names inscribed). This is an official Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where 104 servicemen are buried. Most of these gravestones have the familiar shaped stone and the inscription has the initials of the person's name - when we know the full name of the person we have included it as well as the plot number. This information comes from the book 'Tell Them of Us' - a true labour of love by local Mark Sutton who has become an expert of Swindon's First World War activities.
The cemetery covers a large sloping area, incorporating some thirty three thousand internments. The land is divided into sections, and these sections divided into plots. The graves should have markers - orange/red brick like objects - but over the years many have broken or been lost and some are now in the wrong place. Our first visit to this cemetery coincided with some considerable maintenance work being undertaken. One of the people involved was very helpful and spent some time helping us locate specific graves - thanks Richard. He told us that, sadly, there had been a lot of vandalism in the cemetery but we understand that since the Society have raised awareness it's history there is much less.
If you would like a photograph taken of a grave and know where it is located, we will be happy to go and take one for you. Please contact us with your details.
We are very grateful to Frances Bevan and Mark Sutton, local historians, who have allowed some of their photographs of gravestones to be used on this site. Apart from their work for the Cemetery and their historical research, Frances and Mark are two of the three people (along with Graham Carter) who launched a publication in 2013 called Swindon Heritage. Being subscribers ourselves, we can highly recommend this publication - Swindon is often accused of having little history (or has knocked it all down!), but this magazine will soon put you right on that. They could write a book each month but have to limit their enthusiasm to a quarterly magazine. The magazine has a Facebook page and a website at www.swindonheritage.com.