Before we realised quite how cold it was outside, last Sunday morning, we had decided to walk to Brompton Cemetery. Our route took us down Fulham Road, a part of London where I loved to window-shop when I lived and worked in London in the 1970s.
Brompton Cemetery lies parallel with the District Line Tube and right next door to Stamford Bridge Football Ground, where Chelsea FC play. There was no game last Sunday and we had discovered yet another peaceful haven for nature and contemplation.
Chelsea FC Football Stand
There aren’t many famous people buried there. Emmeline Pankhurst would probably be the best known. But we delighted in the atmosphere and inspecting graves and tombstones as we moved quite quickly through the cemetery. It was freezing cold.
Brompton Cemetery is the first and only cemetery to be in the care of the Royal Parks. It has what appears to be a thriving group of Friends who organise tours and events. It is one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries that opened in the countryside around London between 1833 and 1841.
The Open Air Cathedral Design
Designed by architect Samuel Baud ‘his inspirational concept was to create an immense open-air cathedral with a central ‘nave’ running to a ‘high altar’ symbolised by the domed Anglican Chapel. The prominent features in the cemetery are the Colonnades flanking the Central Avenue and the Great Circle, beneath which are the catacombs entered through impressive cast-iron doors’.
Here are some of the graves and monuments that caught our attention :
Typical Victorian Symbolic Headstones
Brandon Thomas who wrote the play ‘Charley’s Aunt’
Blanche Roosevelt, opera singer
This monument erected by public subscription by the warm friends and admirers of Robert Coombes champion sculler on the Thames and on the Tyne
Flight Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Warneford
Pre-Raphaelite Painter Val Prinsep and his wife Florence
Here Lies Frederick Richards Leyland sometime of Woolton Hall Liverpool : Designed by Edward Burne-Jones
Tree-Like Monument of Samuel Sotheby – Founder of the Auction House
The Brigade of Guards and Commonwealth War Graves
The Chelsea Pensioners Monument
Where the Pensioners saw Active Service
Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst – Number One Suffragette
Having walked from the South Lodge to the North Lodge on Old Brompton Road we were very cold and made for a nearby cafe [which just happened to be The Old Troubadour] for warming drinks before the walk back to the hotel, collecting our bags and travelling by crowded tube to Kings Cross where I joined many London Marathon Runners travelling home.
Fascinating array of monuments. I find Warneford’s a bit spooky — do those eyes follow you around??!!
I wasn’t aware of the eyes just the tragic story and the devastated parents.
I also visited a cemetery in London last weekend. A different one. A clue to which one – “Did these feet….” No Googling!
Without Googling … I have no idea! But I think I may have been there. As you spend time at Belsize Park it could be Highgate. I’ve also visited Bunhill Fields and Kensal Green?
Bunhill fields! To pay homage to William Blake “and did those feet in ancient times…”
Another place where I have pushed many a buggy…..also ideal for just walking toddlers; safe for them to run up and down the many paths. And whilst they were thus occupied I could spend time reading tombstones.
[…] numbered posts. We made our own circuit of the park. The Cemetery was built as one of the “Magnificent Seven” new cemeteries and opened in 1841. Burials took place until 1966. It’s also known as […]