A slightly morbid and macabre London destination compared to the local tourist attractions is Brompton Cemetery. Nestled in Kensington and Chelsea, the cemetery has been opened since 1840, making it one of the large seven ancient private cemeteries in London.
During one of the population booms in London, local parish churches who would customarily bury the public couldn’t cope with the increased demands and were becoming increasingly overcrowded. An unexpected Parisian inspiration led to the consecration of the first London public cemeteries as an alternative to local churches.
One of Seven
One of the youngest of the seven, boasting 39 acres and over 205,000 burials at over 35,000 graves. A distinguished garden cemetery, an urban haven for the local wildlife and a surprising sanctuary of peace and serenity.
Stepping through the entrance gate on the Old Brompton Road, known as the North Lodge, leads down a long avenue to the Brompton Cemetery chapel, a modest dome-shaped chapel flanked by catacombs and long colonnades, located in the heart of the cemetery.
The silence and hush that befalls the cemetery a few metres through the gate is so surprising for central/west London. Behind a curtain of quiet, blissful and appropriate. Even the distant rumble of traffic is cloaked; the only sound would be that of the nearby football club if there is a match playing. Otherwise, you become lost in the stillness of nature and reminiscence.
A garden of remembrance and dedicated military graves, as well as notable Victorian figures, including Dr John Snow, a renowned physician, and Emmeline Pankhurst, a leading suffragette, are buried in Brompton. The cemetery is still a working burial cemetery and has received some recent funding to preserve the history of the site. The excellent and dedicated volunteers, run guided tours and help with the maintenance and upkeep.
An unusual and different destination, full of history and contemplation, memorials to artists, actors, activists and industrialists, as well as soldiers, scientists, sportspeople and socialites to explore.
The site is open between 7 am and 4 pm but opens until later during the summer months. Check out the website for events, as Brompton hosts cinema screenings in the summer and is in many London films.
Even nearby resident Beatrix Potter sourced some of her character names from exploring Brompton
Please be respectful when visiting the cemetery, many people have loved ones buried here and the place should be protected for everyone to enjoy.