Memorial construction and maintenance

Memorials can be a lovely way to create a tribute to loved ones. They have to be maintained by the grave owner (reservee).  

Memorials can include: 

  • Headstones or gravestones 
  • Large monuments 
  • Inclined books 
  • Small urns and vases 
  • Kerbs around graves 
  • Full standing landings on top of graves. 

We do not allow: 

  • Wooden crosses 
  • Glass containers 
  • Stone or glass chippings unless they are part of a full memorial. 

Memorials should be made of stone, although in some areas bronze tablets or plaques are appropriate. They must also be set into appropriate foundations to make sure they stay upright and safe. 

New memorials 

If you wish to place a new memorial on a grave at West Ham Cemetery you must get a permit from the Cemetery Office. You may need to pay a fee. 

Memorial fees 

The fees for new memorials or memorial renovations for 2019-2020 are as follows: 

Work required 


Installation of a new headstone 


Additional inscription 


Additional monument 


Convert to full memorial 


Renovation of additional monument 


Inspections and repairs 

We regularly inspect memorials to check they are safe. 

Where a memorial is unsafe, cemetery staff will lower it to the ground if possible, lay it to the grave so visitors can still read the inscription. We will also send a letter to the grave owner to explain why the memorial is dangerous and that repairs are needed.  

Any repairs, renovations and alterations must be made by a competent stonemason. At West Ham Cemetery a list of masons who have applied for permits to work in the cemetery is available from the office. 

If the reservation rights to a grave have lapsed, or the grave appears to be abandoned, cemetery staff may remove damaged or dangerous memorials. 

Flowers and plants on graves 

Reservees are responsible for providing and maintaining the plants and flowers on graves.  

The following guidelines apply: 

  1. Plants must not be taller than the height of the headstone or the width or the length of the grave. 
  2. Artificial flowers must not be used as they discolour over time. 
  3. Wood, plastic or metal fences and railings must not be placed around a grave as they may be hazardous to staff and visitors. Such items will be removed. 

Maintenance by cemetery staff 

West Ham Cemetery staff can: 

  • Carry out planting on the grave twice a year 
  • Level the grave 
  • Reset kerbs 
  • Weed  
  • Add fresh soil. 

You should speak to the cemetery officer to arrange these services and find out how much they cost.