This major study, to which several well-known scholars contributed, tells the fascinating story of the first great necropolis to be laid out near London. It explains the growth of the movement to found cemeteries (influenced by developments in France and by considerations of urban hygiene), the establishment in 1832 of the General Cemetery Company (which still owns and manages the Cemetery), and the endeavours by architects and landscape designers to create an attractive place of burial. An architectural competition was held in 1831-2, quickly followed by the laying out of the grounds and erection of the first of several distinguished buildings. The greater part of the Cemetery was consecrated in 1833. Based on the archives of the Company, and drawing on the expertise of its several authors, this important book makes a considerable contribution to urban history and coemeterial studies. Covering a vast range of topics, written in accessible form, it is copiously illustrated: many of the pictures (some of which are photographs specially taken for the book) have never previously been published.