This page was updated 16 November 2021.  Further updates will follow.  We will review numbers again if there is a dramatic change in the weather.

From Thursday 30 September 2021

Update to the South and East chapel numbers

We have reviewed our risk assessment and have updated our numbers to allow a further eight members of the congregation to stand in the chapel foyers.  The internal doors will remain open but the doors to the waiting room and external doors will be kept locked to limit disruption.  Please note that standing in the aisle will not be permitted.

South Chapel         120 seated    8 standing in the foyer

East Chapel           40 seated      8 standing in the foyer

From Monday 20 September 2021

Reception is now open 10.00am to 3.00pm Tuesday to Friday for walk in  enquiries and memorial plaque collection.  You may make an appointment to discuss memorials.

From Monday 19 July 2021

Burial and cremation services

Visitors are strongly recommended to use of facemasks inside all facilities at South Essex Crematorium and our cemetery chapels.  The risk of COVID-19 may be higher on site due to the attendance of people who are legally exempted from self-isolation or quarantine, who either have or are at higher risk of having COVID-19.

Numbers of mourners allowed from Monday 19 July 2021

South Chapel                                         120 (90 seated downstairs and 30 in upstairs balcony)

East Chapel                                               40

Upminster Cemetery Chapel        50

Romford Cemetery Chapel            50

Rainham Cemetery Chapel            40

The Crematorium will adhere strictly to these numbers and will not permit standing in the aisles or foyers. Any extra mourners will be accommodated outside where speakers, and in the case of the South Chapel, screens are available.

Toilets are open at all sites, providing hand-washing facilities and sanitiser is available on entry and exit to chapels.

Hymn books and donation boxes have been removed from all chapels and congregational singing is not permitted. Additional requests regarding soloists or instrumentalists will be risk assessed on an individual basis remaining mindful of the local COVID-19 case rate.

If families wish to see the coffin being charged a maximum of five family members will be permitted to view from the catafalque in the South Chapel.

Posters are displayed at our sites displaying the track and trace ‘QR’ code for visitors/mourners to check in upon arrival.

Cemetery grounds and chapels

The cemeteries at Romford, Hornchurch, Rainham and Upminster remain open 9am to 4pm but please note from 1 April we move to summer opening times when they will close at 7pm. Please follow the current government social distancing rules.

South Essex Crematorium

The Gardens of Remembrance are open.  The Tea Room at South Essex is open and is taking bookings for wakes.

The Hall of Remembrance and Chapel of Meditation have now reopened and each has a sanitising station.  Please be considerate of others who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The reception office is closed to visitors. You can ask your funeral director to pick up cremated remains or we will continue to hold them free of charge until further notice.  You can make an appointment to lay cremated remains to rest and may arrange a telephone appointment with an advisor to discuss a memorial.

You can still book a Witnessed Committal; there is no limit on numbers attending. Staff will continue to wear masks and will only remove them when speaking at the committal.  Please consider wearing a mask.

Staff can be contacted via telephone 01708 434433 or email 

For anyone showing symptoms of Covid 19 our advice is that you do not attend a funeral but be encouraged to participate remotely and to that end we continue to offer a webcast for a fee of £30.

Funeral directors can still pick up ashes from the crematorium.

Both car parks are fully open.

From Monday 14 June 2021

For the next month our telephone lines will be open from Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm only.  This will enable staff to concentrate on meeting the heavy demand made on our services due to the pandemic and to prevent long delays for families now wishing to hold committals.

From Monday 17 May 2021

Our gardens, carparks and cemeteries are open to those attending a funeral or commemorative event, or who are paying their respects.  Opening hours are 9.00am to 7.00pm daily. Please note that for your safety our office is not open to walk in visitors. Only very limited emergency appointments are available.  If you wish to pick up your loved one's remains please contact your funeral director who will be able to assist you.

To ensure families and funeral professionals may be confident in the continuity of our service we are working in small 'bubbles'.  Only half of our office staff may safely work together on site.  Heavy demand for our memorial and committal services has built up over the last year and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we work hard to action accumulated requests in a fair and timely fashion.

From Monday 17 May the Government removed the legal limit of 30 mourners.  Instead, the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by how many people the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing.  Numbers permitted to attend funerals are now:

South Chapel                                             55    (40 downstairs and 15 on the balcony)

East Chapel                                                  25

Upminster Cemetery Chapel      30

Romford Cemetery Chapel           34

Rainham Cemetery Chapel         30

Unless exempt, mourners must wear masks.  In Upminster and Romford Cemetery Chapels chairs all face the same direction and are placed one metre apart.  In the South and East Chapels at South Essex Crematorium and in Rainham Cemetery Chapel where there are pews, mourners are responsible for ensuring that they sit one metre away from anyone who is not in their 'bubble'.

Other measures that continue to be in place are: sanitising chairs and pews in between services; provision of hand sanitiser; no donations boxes and no singing.

Whilst we are not encouraging families to gather outside our chapels, outside speakers and screens are now available.

Up to 30 people may now attend a witnessed committal in the Gardens of Remembrance or an interment in one of our cemeteries.

From Friday 12 April 2021

Our gardens, carparks and cemeteries are open to those attending a funeral or commemorative event, or who are paying their respects.  Opening hours are 9.00am to 4.00pm daily, and from 1 April, 9.00am to 7.00pm.

From Monday 12 April we will once more be able to take calls from families who wish to book a witnessed committal in the Gardens of Remembrance or an interment in one of our cemeteries.  Where it is safe to do so, the number permitted to attend will increase from six to fifteen, excluding the celebrant.  Families will be advised of any exceptions in a letter confirming their appointment.

From Monday 12 April we will open our diary for face to face appointments and begin to take calls to book appointments however as we will continue to work in our small, COVID-safe groups, the number of appointments will initially be limited.  We continue to advise families who wish to have their loved ones’ remains at home with them, to instruct us, if possible, to release ashes to their funeral director.

The Hall of Remembrance and the Chapel of Meditation will both re-open, daily, from Monday 12 April .  We will display clear signage restricting the numbers permitted to enter at any one time and  requesting that visitors wear masks, socially distance and use the hand sanitising stations provided.

Numbers permitted to attend funerals will remain unchanged as shown below.


South Chapel                                             30

East Chapel                                                  15

Upminster Cemetery Chapel      18

Romford Cemetery Chapel           20

Rainham Cemetery Chapel          18


Please note that our outside screens and speakers will remain unavailable.


From Friday 18 March 2021

Witnessed committals of remains in the Gardens of Remembrance and interment of cremated remains in our cemeteries remain suspended.  We will review this at the end of the month and hope to resume as soon as possible.  There is a lag between the peak in COVID-19 infections and numbers of funerals due to the restriction in numbers of mourners and demand for our large chapel.  We continue to be extremely busy and are working in small teams to ensure the integrity of the service.  We thank you for your patience and assure you we are working towards resumption of normal services as soon as we are permitted and are able.

From Friday 15 January 2021

Maximum numbers permitted to attend funerals remain unchanged:

South Chapel                                          30

East Chapel                                               15

Upminster Cemetery Chapel   18

Rainham Cemetery Chapel       18

Romford Cemetery Chapel        20

Due to severe staffing restrictions, regrettably, we have suspended the witnessed committal of cremated remains in our Gardens of Remembrance and cemeteries until the week beginning 15 February.  We will review this decision nearer the time and may extend the suspension if the high rate of  COVID-19 transmission continues and lockdown is still in place.  Unwitnessed burials will continue as usual.

Please note that the screens and speakers outside all our chapels remain unavailable until further notice.

The toilets between the two chapels have now reopened.

Since Romford Chapel has no separate chaplains’ room and only a perspex screen, in order to protect our staff, we have temporarily withdrawn Wesley Media facilities.  Funeral directors may bring their own music.  Our attendant will be present, but will wait outside the chapel during the service.

From Thursday 7 January 2021

Numbers permitted to attend remain unchanged.  However in order to ensure that we continue to provide a COVID safe environment, we have made some further small changes to the services we offer.  The screens outside the South Chapel and the speakers outside all our chapels, will not be available during the national lockdown period.

The toilets between the two chapels are closed but toilets (male and female) are available behind the Tea Room and an accessible toilet is located behind the East Chapel.

Walk-in appointments in our office are not currently available.  You may ask your funeral director to pick up cremated remains or we will continue to hold them safely with no charge until further notice.  Telephone appointments are available to discuss memorials.

You may still book a witnessed committal; a maximum of six may attend, excluding your celebrant.

We have extended the cut-off date for removal of Christmas memorabilia from the Gardens of Remembrance and the cemeteries, until the 15 February 2021.  We do not have storage facilities so if you have items you wish to keep, please ensure that you remove them by this date.

From Sunday 20 December 2020

Numbers able to attend funerals remain unchanged: maximum 30 in the South Chapel and 15 in the East Chapel.  The maximum number permitted to attend a witnessed committal in the Gardens of Remembrance  or an  interment of ashes in the cemetery, has changed and is now only six. 

Our gardens, carparks and cemeteries are only open to those attending a funeral or commemorative event, or who are paying their respects.  Opening hours are 9.00am to 4.00pm daily including, throughout the Christmas period.

Please note that the Hall of Remembrance and the Chapel of Meditation remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.


From Thursday 5 November 2020

From Thursday 5 November numbers able to attend funerals, committals of remains in the Gardens of Remembrance and interments in our cemeteries, remain unchanged.

Our gardens, carparks and cemeteries are only open to those attending a funeral or commemorative event, or who are paying their respects.

The Tea Room remains open for takeaway service only, Monday to Friday and will be closed at weekends during the current lockdown period.

Appointments to collect remains will continue during lockdown.  If you have an appointment with us in our office to discuss memorial options or your next steps, we will contact you by phone or email to offer you advice and help, or if you prefer, to rebook your appointment.


Monday 19 October 2020

Public Health England are currently reviewing their guidance for funerals.  We will update these pages with any changes to our service.

Friday 16 October 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020

The above Regulations came into force in England on 28 September and allow for people who have tested positive for Coronavirus or who have been in close contact with somebody who tested positive and should be self-isolating, to leave self-isolation to attend the funeral of a close family member.   The Regulations apply equally to those that are symptomatic or asymptomatic, whereas previous guidance stated that those showing symptoms should not attend a funeral.

In light of this we have reviewed our risk assessments.

  • The chapel waiting rooms will remain closed to all visitors and the doors to the Chaplains’ rooms will now remain closed at all times with no admittance for funeral professionals.
  • We recommend that all mourners wear masks, whether in the chapel or outside

Maximum numbers permitted in our chapels remains:

South Chapel                                          30

East Chapel                                               15

Upminster Cemetery Chapel   18

Rainham Cemetery Chapel       18

Romford Cemetery Chapel        20

Maximum number of family and friends at a committal of remains in the Gardens of Remembrance or an interment of ashes at graveside is 15.  We request that everyone attending wears a mask, unless you are exempt.

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.