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Salisbury Crematorium, Salisbury

Description: Salisbury Crematorium

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 August 2012
Building ID: 1410876

OS Grid Reference: SU1528331339
OS Grid Coordinates: 415271, 131350
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0813, -1.7834

Location: 44 Barrington Road, Salisbury SP1 3JB

Locality: Salisbury
County: Wiltshire
Postcode: SP1 3JB

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Listing Text


A crematorium completed in 1960 to a design by Salisbury City Council’s City Engineer, H Rackham.

Reason for Listing

Salisbury Crematorium is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a good example of a 1960s local authority designed crematorium in the 'New Humanist' style, expressing good quality architectural detailing and use of materials;
* Intactness: the crematorium, both externally and internally, has survived substantially intact;
* Interior: the Scandinavian influenced design, finishes, fixtures and fittings of the interior of the chapel in particular, are of a good quality with an interesting use of materials and excellent use of natural light;
* Setting: it has a strong relationship with its surrounding funerary landscape designed by Brenda Colvin in 1956-8, which makes an important contribution to its special interest.


Salisbury Crematorium was completed on 31 August 1960 to a design by Salisbury City Council under the direction of the City Engineer, H Rackham. The building contractors were AJ Dunning & Sons Ltd from Weyhill in Hertfordshire. On 16 September that same year the crematorium was formally opened by Councillor HR Kidwell, and the chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Rev V J Pike. Articles on the crematorium appeared in Resurgam in 1960 and 1961.

Salisbury City Council had commissioned the landscape architect Brenda Colvin (1897-1981) in 1956 to design the landscape for the crematorium, which was implemented by the Council’s Parks Department. It has been suggested that the garden designer John Brookes (born 1933), who worked for Brenda Colvin from 1957-1960, may also have been involved. Brenda Colvin displayed her proposals for Salisbury Crematorium at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1958 and it was reviewed in the Journal of Landscape Architects that same year. Colvin, a supporter of the cremation movement for environmental reasons, expressed her early ideas on landscapes for crematoria in her book ‘Land and Landscapes’ published in 1947 (pp328-331). Salisbury Crematorium is believed to be her only crematorium landscape.


MATERIALS: concrete, brick and flint, with metal window surrounds and a copper roof to the chapel.

PLAN: a chapel with a rectangular plan with lower ranges extending to either side of it including the crematorium and manager’s office to its north-west and a courtyard garden enclosed by a colonnade to its south-east. Attached to its south-east end is a small circular building for the Book of Remembrance.

EXTERIOR: the south west elevation is dominated by the central entrance which has a flat canopy, resting on brick piers and two concrete columns to the centre, and pierced with mosaic decorated roof lights, above which rises the chapel and chimney, the latter designed to look like a church spire, with both clad in a decorative chequered pattern of Portland stone and flint, a reference to traditional local building materials. To the left and right are lower single storey flat-roofed brick wings with strip windows set just under roof line. Attached to the right is a diamond-shaped canopy linking the small drum-shaped concrete and flint clad Book of Remembrance building, accessed via a timber door with full-height strips of vertical glazing, and lit from above by a full circle of clerestory windows. The main entrance to the chapel has full-height windows with metal surrounds. The central door opening was raised in the later C20 in order to allow easier access for coffin bearers.

The north east elevation is dominated by the chapel and chimney, again clad in a decorative chequered pattern of Portland stone and flint. Double timber doors at the base of the chimney give access to the chapel and crematorium and offices to the right. To the left is the raised courtyard garden enclosed by a flat roofed glazed colonnade, accessed by steps set under a flat canopy (the latter possibly a later addition). To its left, at the same level, are two terraces, with the Book of Remembrance set at its far end, which are set on a brick base with remembrance plaques, and which offer views of the park and long distant views of the landscape beyond to the south.

The south east elevation is dominated by the Book of Remembrance building to the front left, with steps to its right leading to the terraces which are lined by the flat roofed glazed colonnade with the courtyard garden and chapel beyond it. The chapel’s south east elevation is characterised by the tall, leaded chevron patterned window to the right (a plastic film was recently added to the central panes of the window, imitating a stained glass window). To the right hand side the chapel is clad in Portland stone with tall windows below and clerestory lighting above.

INTERIOR: a lobby in front of the chapel, lit from above by a group of decorative mosaic clad roof lights piercing the ceiling, has central double timber doors with vertical full-height glazed strips of glass. Inside the chapel, which has a parquet floor, slender concrete aggregate fins to the side support a tall ceiling decorated with central vertical timbers and white board panelling, from which a series of ball-shaped lights hang down. The wall behind the altar, with the timber Catafalque to its left, is clad in roughly dressed Portland stone, and lit by the full-height leaded window to its right. The walls to the nave, under the clerestory lighting, are clad in projecting and alternating timber boxed white panelling, with a brick wall to the left below it and windows along the right hand side, set in stone cobbled rills, overlooking the courtyard garden. The original timber pews survive but only those in the front row retain their kneelers.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.