Friday, August 31, 2012

Brompton Cemetery, Kensington and Chelsea, London

A headstone, amongst the tasteful foliage, in Brompton Cemetery, London.
In a busy, sprawling metropolis like London, people are always trying to find a little something somewhere to hide away from the world, often just for a few minutes of quiet. One such place that I chanced upon recently is Brompton Cemetery in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, west London.

The cemetery was consecrated in 1840 by the Bishop of London and features long Italianate colonnades, a chapel, bell tower and catacombs, all to recreate the feel of an open-air cathedral. Indeed, when viewed from above on a satellite map, the outline of the shape is clear to see.

To the sides of the main colonnades run two paths. Walking along one of these smaller paths, the sense of seclusion from life in the capital is profound. From in-between the headstones and monuments grows an abundance of vibrant green bracken and other foliage, making the path seem isolated, even from the other pathways inside the cemetery.

In addition to being an escape from the noise of city life, the cemetery is a treasure trove of history and intrigue. According to the website of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery, a few of the names of Beatrix Potter’s characters are said to have been inspired by some of those buried there and the father of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, John Wisden, is also interred there.

Despite the gothic feel to grounds, and how packed with tombstones the grounds already are, I was surprised to find out that Brompton Cemetery is a still working cemetery and accepts new interments. Bromption Cemetery is well worth a visit, whether to rest or to wander around  although you wouldn't want to get locked in after dark!

The Brompton Cemetery is managed by The Royal Parks and more information can be found here: www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/brompton-cemetery/. The Friends of Brompton Cemetery organise regular talks, tours and events. For more information: www.brompton-cemetery.org/.

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