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Kensal Green Cemetery in London: A Victorian Creation That Became Popular due to Royal Burials
The Princess and the Duke of Sussex were the children of King George III. Following their burials, London's High Society quickly followed suit and used Kensal Green as their cemetery. As did writers, artists, inventors, engineers and people from many other professions. (The Duke of Cambridge was a grandson of George III).
Strolling Through the Cemetery
It takes some time to see and admire in this large area, even with the help of a guide and plan (available at the office).
There are several divisions which do help to make it easier. The cemetery is shaped rather like a bottle with, near to the main entrance, the Eastern Division, known as the Dissenters' Division. The bottle's neck is made up of the North, Centre and South Avenues, then the grounds widen and there are lots of paths to follow.
The Eastern Division
As well as graves and memorials, the Dissenters' Chapel is located here. The Dissenters were people outside the Church of England. One of the memorials is to the Reformers (1885) which is dedicated to all those who helped to improve the conditions of all classes. It is they who laid the foundations of the Welfare State.
The Royal Triumvirate
The Duke of Sussex (1773-1843) chose to be buried at Kensal Green because of the chaos at the funeral of William IV at Windsor.
The Princess Sophia (1777-1848) was not eligible to be buried to Windsor due to an indiscretion. Following a one-nighter with a Court Equerry she had a child and subsequently led a lonely life. Towards the end she also became blind.
George, The Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904) is buried here because he married an actress. As this was in contravention of the Royal Marriage Act, it was a "morganatic marriage". Mrs. Fitzgeorge is also buried here.
A few of the Famous and Not so Famous
Among the people at Kensal Green are some whose names may not be well known, but who contributed to history.
One example is Dr. James Barry (1795-1865). This remarkable person had a successful career as an army doctor who became Inspector General of the Army Medical Department. This was in the days when both of these professions were closed to women - but Dr. Barry was a woman. A fact that only became clear after she died.
William Wilkie Collins (1824-89) was a novelist and a pioneer of the detective fiction genre (The Woman in White).
Mary Elanor Gibson (1854-72) isn't famous for anything other than a fabulous memorial. This is a sarcophagus under a Corinthian canopy on top of which are four happy Baroque angels clad in draperies.
Sir Marc Brunel (1769-1849) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59). Sir Marc is known for digging one of the Thames tunnels. His son, Isambard, created the Great Western Railway and, among many other things, the "Great Eastern" the largest ship ever built in the 19th century.
Anne Isabella Milbank, Lady Byron (1792-1860) was married to Lord Byron for all of fourteen months and produced a daughter. Lady Byron was an intellectual and a mathematician.
Some other famous names are: George Grossmith (comedian and singer who "created" many of the leading Gilbert and Sullivan roles), Mary Scott Hogarth (sister-in-law to Charles Dickens), Blondin (the tightrope walker who crossed the Niagara Falls) and several others.
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Hi, my name is Amir Cole, a blog writer and digital wanderer on a journey to every nation on the planet and you're welcomed to take part in the adventure! OnTheBeaches is where I share my travel experience to assist you take a trip smarter.
Photos used under Creative Commons from shixart1985, Sydney Heritage, Michele Benericetti, ChodHound