The catacombs of West Norwood Cemetery (South Metropolitan Cemetery) reside underneath the former site of the Episcopal Chapel (demolished in 1955 due to bomb damage).
The catacombs and cemetery was opened by the South Metropolitan Cemetery Company in West Norwood to alleviate the overcrowded church yards in the area.
The cemetery was founded by its own Act of Parliament of 1836 and consecrated for its first burials in 1837.
The catacombs were designed with a central chamber that was surrounded by vaults. Three vaulted passages tier off on each side of the central chamber with a number of bays, either open or closed with iron gating.
Many chambers contain wooden coffins with lead lining (all burials not in the ground were lead lined by law) with many stacked and crammed into the bays.
An original Bramah hydraulic lift in the central chamber was used to lower the coffins.