Thursday 6 August 2020

Face coverings in our crematorium and cemetery chapels from 8 August 2020

In line with the ICCM’s latest guidance, mourners are currently recommended to wear face coverings at funerals in all London Borough of Havering crematorium and cemetery chapels.  New Cabinet Office guidance states that from the 8 August, face coverings will become mandatory at a place of worship.  Whilst our chapels are not strictly places of worship, we understand that the intention is that face coverings should be worn at funerals in enclosed spaces, subject to any recommendations in the revised Public Health England guidance, due to be published.

We understand that not all mourners are able to wear face coverings and that the reasons may not be visible to others.  We will therefore, not refuse entry to mourners without masks,  providing they are able to maintain social distancing.

We acknowledge that it will be impractical for ministers to wear a mask whilst conducting a service and that they will be two metres or more, away from others.  Whilst engaging in normal conversation in the chapel they will be required to wear a mask.


Webcasts at South Essex Crematorium

We are pleased to be able to offer, once again, webcasts of services in either the South or East Chapels.  If you have ordered a webcast for a funeral at South Essex Crematorium please ensure that you and anyone with whom you have shared the login, have read this Important notice re: webcasts.

Please note that Wesley Media have now reverted to a seven day on demand service following the initial streaming and no longer offer a download instead.  If you require an audio or audio visual recording of a service, it is available, at the usual fee of £60.00 and will be supplied as a download, not a DVD or a USB, at present.

Updates to mourner numbers 

In response to the latest government guidelines we have revised the numbers able to attend funerals as follows:

South Essex Crematorium South Chapel                        30

South Essex Crematorium East Chapel                            15

Upminster Cemetery Chapel                                                   18

Romford Cemetery Chapel                                                       20

Rainham Cemetery Chapel                                                      18

Both Rainham and Romford Cemetery Chapels are now open following refurbishment and we are installing perspex screens in Romford Chapel, for the safety of the chapel attendant.

We have carried out risk assessments based on government guidance that states that a modest number of close friends and family may attend, whilst two metre distancing should be maintained.  Although in other situations one metre distancing is deemed acceptable, mourners at funerals are considered to be particularly vulnerable and with a higher risk of possible contact with COVID-19.  Our toilets are open at all sites, providing hand-washing facilities and sanitiser is available on entry and exit to chapels.

Current guidance now states that singing, chanting or playing instruments that are blown, should be specifically avoided.

NHS Test and Trace

We are required to assist NHS Test and Trace with data requests to contain outbreaks of infection.  We are waiting for more specific guidance, but in the meantime, as you enter our chapels we will provide a form located on a small table and ask that each household attending a service provides a contact name and telephone number.  Some funeral directors may ask you for this information in advance. This data will be kept for 21 days before being destroyed by means of a confidential waste service.  Please bring a pen with you when attending a funeral.

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend a funeral.  In order to enable families to participate remotely, we continue to offer a reduced fee of £30 for webcasts.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Government guidance has changed and now allows us to open the Hall of Remembrance, with the Book of Remembrance and the bronzed Memorial Tree, as well as the Chapel of Meditation, providing we are able to ensure they can be used safely.  We are currently looking at measures that will enable us to reopen these rooms and will update our web pages accordingly.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Our large carpark is now opened but restricted to 60 vehicles.  If you are visiting the gardens only, during the week please consider parking in the cemetery.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Mourner numbers to increase from Monday 8 June 

From Monday 8 June, we will be increasing the number of mourners to 25 in the South Chapel; 15 in the East Chapel; 15 in Upminster Cemetery Chapel and 30 at graveside.  Removal of one of the temporary structures currently situated in our South Chapel car park will begin Saturday 30 May.  Once available, we hope that this will offer space for approximately 60 vehicles in addition to parking available in our small car park.  The car park may initially require some repair work and may not be available the week of Monday 8 June, as an interim measure, we are advising mourners to park in Upminster Cemetery.

Amendments to audio visual services 

Due to severe technical issues, it is with regret that we have we have decided to withdraw our live webcast service from 3.00pm Thursday 28 May,  until further notice.  We will honour all existing  bookings which will benefit from the Wesley Media ‘seven day on demand’ service, as well as receiving a further link to a service download in the days following the funeral.  We have experienced severe issues with webcast provision.  Unfortunately it is likely that webcasts may experience buffering and in some cases, you may not be able to view the webcast live.

We will email the applicant for the cremation, a password and a login ID before the funeral.  If you are unable to view the service live you will still receive this link.

Although we are not accepting orders for webcasts, you may order a service recording as a download link for the reduced fee of £30.  The download link may take up to 10 working days to arrive; this is longer than stated on the Wesley Media website.

DVDs/CDs/USBs are not available to order until further notice.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Following the publication of the government’s recovery strategy we can confirm that there are no immediate changes to cremation or burial services at South Essex Crematorium.

The maximum number of mourners remains ten; they should be members of the deceased’s household or close family members, or (where there are no family members) close friends.  Mourners who are self-isolating due to a possible case of COVID-19 in their household may attend a funeral in person, if they wish to do so, providing they have no symptoms at all.  They should advise other mourners that they are otherwise self-isolating at home and ensure they do not attend at the same time as another mourner who may be extremely clinically vulnerable.

For your safety, that of our staff and the wider community, visitors are required to follow government guidance regarding social distancing.  We would ask that you discourage additional family and friends who cannot attend the funeral, from gathering outside the chapels and refrain from sharing food and drinks within our grounds after the funeral.  Whilst we understand that families are not currently able to hold wakes, this impacts on others' funerals and breaches social distancing guidance.

Families may visit the gardens and cemeteries with members of their own household.  Government guidance now states that if a person visits on their own, they may meet one person only, from outside their household, whilst maintaining at least 2 metres (6 feet) between them.

Friday 24 April 2020

Reopening of South Essex Crematorium Gardens of Remembrance 

Following further government guidance, South Essex Crematorium Gardens of Remembrance will reopen for families to pay their respects, from 9am on Saturday 25 April.  Before visiting please note some changes in our provision, due to the temporary morgue located in the large carpark:

Parking is unavailable to visitors to the gardens.  Monday to Friday, parking is severely restricted and available only for families attending funerals.  There will be no access for vehicles at weekends, when staff will not be present to ensure safe movement of two-way traffic on the crematorium driveway.  The side-gates will be open for pedestrians.

Some memorials and ashes burial areas, remain inaccessible so please contact our office to check before setting out on your journey.  The Book of Remembrance and Chapel of Meditation will remain closed in accordance with Coronavirus legislation that requires the Crematorium to remain closed except for funerals.

Visitors are required to follow government guidance on social-distancing.  Staff will not always be available to monitor behaviour and therefore you visit at your own risk.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Following further government guidance, we are pleased to say that Havering Cemeteries will reopen from 9.00am today,to allow families to visit graves.  South Essex Crematorium Gardens of Remembrance will remain closed, in line with the Coronavirus legislation

Please ensure that when you visit you comply with government guidance regarding social distancing, for your safety and that of our staff.  The cemeteries will be open only for families to pay their respects, if they are used for recreational purposes the decision will be reviewed.

May we take this opportunity to remind visitors that dogs are not allowed in our cemeteries unless assistance dogs.

Due to safe distancing requirements, Romford Cemetery chapel is closed from today Tuesday 21 April, until further notice.  Please note that Upminster Cemetery chapel has an attendants' room and  remains open.




Wednesday 8 April 2020

In response to cemeteries' closure:


 I wanted to take this opportunity to send this message personally from myself and the cemeteries team to reassure everyone who has loved ones laid to rest at any of our four cemeteries.  I promise you all that we will continue to work hard and make sure we continue to provide the highest service in respect of maintaining the grounds at all our sites during this difficult time.

We do have a challenge in front of us keeping up with the demands of burials whilst trying to keep on top of the ever growing grass, but please rest assured, your loved ones who are laid to rest at our cemeteries will not be forgotten behind locked gates.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you all to not be able to visit your loved ones, but please believe me when I say this, myself and the team feel for you all. We all hope we will be able to reopen our gates as soon as possible and ask that you understand and respect the reasons behind the closure and in doing so will help us in our daily duties.


Tuesday 7 April 2020

Due to Government guidance the Gardens of Remembrance at South Essex Crematorium and the borough's cemeteries will be closed from 7pm tonight until further notice. Our usual programmes of maintenance will continue.

Funerals are still taking place at South Essex Crematorium and in the borough's cemeteries.

Thursday 26 March 2020

In response to feedback from families, and in line with other local crematoria:

  • Cremation services will be limited to 10 mourners in line with government guidelines on social distancing.
  • Cemetery chapel services will also be limited to 10 mourners. For services direct to grave, families are limited to 10 mourners and are asked to keep the time at graveside as short as possible.


Wednesday 25 March 2020

In line with our major incident emergency plans a temporary mortuary is being built at South Essex Crematorium on behalf of the London borough councils and as part of the London-wide response to coronavirus.  This is being done as a sensible precaution and similar arrangements are made during any London-wide response to incidents.


Tuesday 24 March 2020


  • All witnessed ashes burials have ceased.
  • Cremation services will be limited to 5 mourners in line with government guidelines on social distancing.
  • Cemetery chapel services will also be limited to 5 mourners. For services direct to grave, families are limited to 5 mourners and are asked to keep the time at graveside as short as possible.
  • Families will be offered a webcast of the service  (South and East chapels) for the reduced fee of £30.00.
  • Families will also be offered a downloadable file instead of a DVD or USB at the reduced fee of £30.00 (South and East chapels).

Any requests for Webcasts or service recordings need to be ordered via your Funeral Director.  We are sorry that we cannot take these orders direct.


Monday 23 March 2020


  • Following Government guidance, the Tea Room at South Essex is closed.
  • The Office reception is closed to face to face callers. Most staff are able to work and those with underlying health conditions are working from home, answering the phones and emails, however phones are always busy so please bear with us.
  • Hymn books and donation boxes have been removed from all chapels.
  • Shaw Trust assistance has now ceased.
  • We have ceased provision of grave selection and families backfilling graves.
  • Ashes pick up by the family has ceased.
  • Funeral Directors can still collect ashes.