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Brompton Cemetery Chapel, Colonnades and Memorials

London's finest Grade I listed Victorian cemetery of 40 acres with many memorials, designed by architect who had previously worked on rebuilding of Windsor Castle.

Architect

Baud, Benjamin

Date

1840

Old Brompton Road SW5 or Fulham Road SW10 9UG

Sat/Sun 1pm-5pm. Tour at 2pm starting at the Cemetery Chapel. For info on tours ring 0207 351 1689. Max 35 at one time.

West Brompton

14, 74, 190, 211, 328, C3, 414

  • Bookshop at location
  • Partial disabled
  • Refreshments available
  • Toilets available

BROMPTON CEMETERY CHAPEL, COLONNADES and MEMORIALS Brompton Cemetery is one of the earliest of six privately-built burial grounds opened around London in the 1830s and 40s. It was founded as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery in 1837 and consecrated in 1840. The rise in population had made continued use of grossly overcrowded City churchyards intolerable and the London Cemetery Company was formed in 1830 to take the necessary action. Kensal Green, the first and largest (and always the most socially favoured) was laid out in 1833, followed next by Brompton and then over the next ten years by Norwood and Nunhead in the south, and Highgate and Abney Park to the North. Unlike the more romantic Highgate Cemetery built on a hill with its haphazard and melancholy disarray, Brompton is planned symmetrically on flat ground. The architect was Benjamin Baud (1807-1875), a former assistant to Sir Jeffrey Wyatville in the rebuilding of Windsor Castle from 1826 to 1840. Brompton was Baud’s principal achievement (although he never got paid for it). To the north is an entrance screen in white stock bricks, leading south to a circular enclosure approached by extensive colonnades with catacombs below. At the centre of the enclosure is an octagonal Anglican chapel with impressive arcading. Flanking Catholic and Non-conformist chapels were also planned, but for reasons of cost were never built. Construction of the catacombs also proved costly, and only a part of the original plan was complete when the Company ran into financial difficulties. It was sold to the Government in 1852, making Brompton the first London cemetery under state control. Thereafter the rectangular plots filled up slowly in the usual Victorian muddle of classical and Egyptian mausoleums, Gothic shrines, angels and obelisks, increasingly compromising the formality of Baud_s original design. The 1892 monument to the ship owner and art patron Frederick Leyland is by far the most impressive in the Cemetery. It was designed by Burne Jones as a Romanesque marble shrine inlaid with bronze scrolls, with a pitched copper roof and art nouveau railings. Also buried here are the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Francis Fowke (architect of the Royal Albert Hall), George Borrow and John Jackson, a once famous Victorian boxer. The Cemetery is now run by the Royal Parks Agency.