Not only a Commonwealth War Grave cemetery, buried here is a snapshot of Swindon people from all walks of life. From senior managers at the GWR works to murderers and thieves, every grave has its own fascinating story. Centrepiece of the graveyard is the chapel with its Cross of Sacrifice standing proudly on guard.
In the mid 19th century Swindon was a rapidly growing town, fueled by employment in the Great Western Railway. The cemetery on Kingshill, later to become known as Radnor Street Cemetery, was laid out in 1881 in response to a lack of burial space and the proposed closure of St. Mark’s churchyard. Demands by the large non-conformist population in the town who wished to bury their dead in unconsecrated ground had been fought for but largely ignored.
Those buried in Radnor Street Cemetery are the people who made the town – from the entrepreneurs who took a gamble to the architects and builders who designed and built the streets. There are memorials to the men who ran the Great Western Railway Works yet the men who came from all across the country to work in it often lie in an unmarked grave.
There are 103 Commonwealth War Graves, the final resting place of those men who came home from two world wars, only to die as a result of the deprivations they had endured.
And then there are the women. So, what did the women do, apart from raise their children and look after their home and husband? The women who ran the family businesses, the teachers and nurses, the women who worked in the factories, including the railway works during two world wars. The women whose voluntary work supported the churches, the schools and the hospitals. Those women.
There are 33,000 burials in the 11-and-a-half acre-site and within less than a hundred years Radnor Street Cemetery was full and closed to new burials. In 2005 the area became a Nature Reserve and today offers a beautiful place in which to walk and relax away from the busy town centre.
Radnor Street cemetery
No parking facilities at the cemetery. Parking nearby is residential. We advise you to park in the town centre and walk to the cemetery. The cemetery is a 15 to 20-minute walk from Swindon rail station and bus station.
Opening times depend on the time of the year. See swindon.gov.uk/info/20164/cemeteries_and_crematorium