Crownhill Crematorium Introduction & History

The opening of the Crematorium in Spring 1982 was the result of years of research and planning. Discussions into the need for a Crematorium to serve the new City and surrounding districts started in 1960, culminating with the Consultant Architects being commissioned in September 1979 to provide a Crematorium at Crownhill.

Crownhill is on the western boundary of the new city of Milton Keynes and the Crematorium is set in 7 hectares of undulating and attractive grounds. The design feature of the grounds was planned to incorporate the wooded area along the old A5 roman road (now the V4 Watling Street), and the planting remains informal and reflects a woodland design.

The Crematorium was planned to be readily accessible from all locations and is approached by the city's grid roads, Watling Street V4 and Dansteed Way H4.

The Chapels and Buildings

There are two distinct separate chapels, the older chapel built in 1982 and called The Willow chapel and the new Oak chapel built in 2010-2011 and including modern and up to date features including visual tribute screens, webcasting and a larger chapel. The buildings are of simple modern design incorporating traditional materials. All buildings are on one level, making access easier for all visitors. The buildings comprise one main chapel, an administrative office, Officiants room, public waiting room with toilets, and a Chapel of Remembrance in The Willow chapel. Entrance to the Willow chapel is under a covered porte-cochere by a nearby flower bed.

Many different faiths and denominations use the facilities, as well as those with no faith, and the chapels and grounds are dedicated, rather than consecrated. We have various symbols that can be moved and changed for all different faiths and those with no faith.

The centrally heated, and air conditioned Willow chapel can seat 80 people comfortably, but additional space along the chapel sides can accommodate an extra 30 people. However, if needed, we have an outside speaker system which can be used for larger services.

The overall design of the Willow chapel is to impart an air of serenity and simplicity. The inner walls are painted soft pale yellow, textured with timber beams. The entrance route is tiled but the seating area is carpeted in a pale blue. There are individual seats, also in pale blue, which can be moved to accommodate wheelchair users.

Natural light is admitted to the chapel from the roof apex and two specially commissioned stained glass windows.

The catafalque is contained within a central alcove draped in velvet. At an arranged moment during the service, curtains can be closed in front of the coffin but, if requested by the mourners, this may be left open. No movement of the coffin takes place until after the mourners have left the chapel.

On leaving the chapel, the mourners exit through the east door, which opens directly onto the paved condolence area and cloistered wreath court, where floral tributes are placed in sheltered alcoves. The alcoves are at waist height allowing all to be able to view the cards and flowers placed on the displays.

Music for services can be provided either by the chapel organ, or from the extensive Wesley Music system, or by families supplying their own CD.

A loop system is available in the main chapel, as well as a wheelchair if required.

Last Updated: 14 September 2020