A walk among the stone saints and angels: St Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Green

Next door to the well-known Kensal Green, one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries, is another vast necropolis.  The two cemeteries are separated only by a tall brick wall, and although they are similar in age, and include many similar memorials, there are differences between the two cemeteries – some subtle, others less so.  St Mary’s Cemetery at Kensal Green is one of only two burial grounds in London that caters exclusively for Roman Catholics, and around the cemetery the visitor can see many symbols that reflect the faith of those buried there.

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A taste for the dramatic: the grand monuments of Kensal Green

One of the things that has always appealed to me about the big Victorian cemeteries is their sense of drama, and their grand, elaborate memorials.  Of course, there’s nothing new about the moneyed commissioning ostentatious memorials for themselves and their loved ones, but in the grand cemeteries of the big cities, like London, it’s possible to see lots of dramatic memorials clustered closely together, all vying for prominence in burial grounds that were designed to be visited by the living as well as being places for the dead to rest.

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Kensal Green, one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries, is home to many wonderfully dramatic monuments.  Opened in 1833, it was inspired by the famous Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and the burial of one of King George III’s sons, Prince Augustus Frederick (died 1843), made Kensal Green a fashionable place to be laid to rest.

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