Visit the overcrowded Victorian cemetery with haunting stories this Halloween

For horror fans, October can only mean one thing – Halloween is here and it's time to get spooky.

Aside from binge-watching horror movies, there's really no better way to get into the Halloween spirit than to visit a rambling, gothic, Victorian-era cemetery.

This year, consider visiting the gothic Nunhead Cemetery, that's complete with a ruined Anglican chapel, ornate and unusual headstones, and an interesting history that's sure to add to the Halloween experience.

Visitors to this cemetery rave about its wildness, as it's overgrown yet beautiful foliage adds a sense of mystery and exploration to the walk, MyLondon reports.

It is 52 acres in size, is a local nature reserve home to woodpeckers and tawny owls, and has an estimated 270,000 graves, although the exact number is unknown.

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The cemetery, in Nunhead, in south London, is open to the public daily, from 8.30am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 7pm, Sundays and bank holidays.

Visitors are not allowed to have picnics or BBQs, hold parties or drink alcohol, must stay on the paths, be respectful to others, and keep all dogs on leads.

But despite the restrictions, Nunhead is one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ large, private cemeteries established in the city in the Nineteenth Century, when the Capital’s population more than doubled to 2.3 million.

The existing parish churchyards became overcrowded, leading to gruesome consequences such as sewer rats chewing on corpses and graves being dug on unmarked plots already home to buried bodies.

The other six cemeteries are Kensal Green, Highgate, West Norwood, Abney Park, Brompton and Tower Hamlets.

Nunhead welcomed its first body in 1840, that of 101-year-old Ipswich grocer Charles Abbott. By the middle of the 1900s, the cemetery was almost full.

Notable occupants from the Victorian era include renowned music hall performers Jenny Hill (known as “The Queen of the Halls”) and Alfred Vance, artist and illustrator John Proctor, and writer William Brough.

Look out for the Scottish Political Martyrs Monument, an obelisk dedicated to dissident Scots transported to Australia in the Eighteenth Century for their political views, and the Scouts memorial, which commemorates the lives of nine boys who drowned on a camping and sailing trip to the Isle of Sheppey.

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Sections of the cemetery contain the First and Second World War graves of British, Australian, Canadian, South African and New Zealand servicemen.

The grandeur of some of the memorial stones, such as the unusual tomb of amateur archaeologist John Allen, which is thought to be based on the ancient Greek Payava Tomb, is a sight to behold.

There is a ruined Anglican chapel at the centre of the cemetery (partly destroyed in an arson attack in the 1970s) where outdoor music performances and concerts are sometimes held.

A lot of the cemetery is wild and overgrown as a result of years of neglect, and not all the paths or gravestones are easily accessible. The reason for this is the owners, the United Cemetery Company, couldn’t turn a profit so simply closed the cemetery gates and abandoned it in 1969.

It was bought for just £1 by Southwark Council in 1975, and restoration work began in the late 1990s, driven by Friends of Nunhead Cemetery, a group set up to conserve the site.

The group conducts guided tours on the last Sunday of each month at 2pm, starting from the Linden Grove gates, and also organises voluntary conservation work and monumental inscription recording.

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