On Sunday my colleague Anita & I joined the Cultureseekers Group for an afternoon out in Brompton Cemetry.
The cemetry was built in 1840 by act of parliament & to the design of Benjamin Baud. It is one of the “Magnificent Seven” required due to London’s population doubling & the churchyards overflowing causing a serious health hazard & polluting the water supply. Bodies were dug up to make space for others, whilst the original body was put in the sewer.
The domed chapel was built in the style of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. There are circular colonnades, with catacombs beneath, which are set in 39 acres.
There are 35,000 monuments & the one above is the only Grade II* listed. Containing the remains of Frederick Leyton shipowner & art patron.
There are 205,000 burials & a small Garden of Remembrance for cremated ashes.
Amongst the many famous people interred here is the leader of the Women’s Social and Political Union; Emmeline Pankhurst. She is also known to have been incarcerated in the City of London women’s cell beneath Mansion House
There are five Grade II listed monuments in the cemetry, which is apparently frequented by gay men on ‘the pull’.
Among many of the famous residents is John Snow 1813-1858, pioneer anaesthetist & epidemioligist, who discovered the cause of the horrendous cholera epidemics of the 1830’s & 1850’s was due to drinking water polluted by infected faeces. Also Sir Henry Cole the founder of the Victoria & Albert museum 1808-1897. The founder of the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA), Benjamin Webster 1797-1882. Sir Samuel Cunard 1787-1865 shipping owner. Sir John Fowler 1817-1898 engineer of Metropolitan Railway & Forth Bridge. Samuel Leigh Sotheby famous auctioneer 1805-1868.
To bring matters into the 20th century – Kit Lambert the original manager of the band The Who is buried here.