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Saturday 24 September 2011

I Thought I Recognised This

Brompton Cemetery, London

to the Memory of
Sir John Lysaght Pennefather
The Governor of The Royal Hospital Chelsea
Died 9th May 1872
In the 73rd Year of His Age
~ Verse ~
Also of Margaret, widow of the above
who entered into rest 7th February 1880
~ Verse ~
Also of Harriet Worrell ( Harrie )
The dearly loved wife of the Rev. Henry Pelham Stokes.M
Rector of Wareham Dorset: A Grand~daughter of the above
who fell asleep in Jesus 13th January 1882  

General Sir John Lysaght Pennefather GCB* B.9 September 1798 ~ D. 9 May 1872, was a British soldier who won two very remarkable victories. Firstly, at Meanee, India, where it was said that 500 Irishmen defeated 35,000 Indians.
Secondly, at the Battle of Inkerman, 5 November 1854 during the Crimean War, where he commanded a division of 3,000 Irishmen fighting in the fog were said to have defeated 35,000 Russians.
*Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Information from Wikipedia  

As soon as I saw the monument above, I recognised it as being veri similar to the one below from Histon Road Cemetery, Cambridge..... 

Histon Road Cemetery, Cambridge

I have shown this particular monument in an earlier posting and have always admired it because of the beautiful fine detailed Weeping Willow branches that are draped over it. 
I also liked the fact that it appeared to be an original design as I had never seen another quite like it, that is until I discovered that of Gen. Sir John Lysaght Pennefather in Brompton Cemetery. 

Friday 23 September 2011

Friday's Funerary Art ~ Stained Glass

30~9~1917     25~11~2001

The decorated panel is made of Stained Glass in the religious Icon style.

click on the bold italic type for more information 

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Wednesday's Child

to the Memory
of Our Little
who died Jan. 10th 1882
Aged 2 Yrs 10 Months

The good condition of Little Tom's wooden head and footboard, lead me to think that they are not the originals. Tom has no surname that is visible, so who replaced them and when ?

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Callosa d'En Sarria Cemetery, Valencia, Spain

We have just returned from a recent holiday to Valencia in Spain and I was rather interested in seeing some Spanish cemeteries whilst there, however locationing them proved to be more difficult as they seemed to be rather elusive.
Even in the larger towns, the usual signs for the 'Municipal Cementeri' were noticably absent.
So it was with a sense of delight, that we accidentally discovered the cemetery of Callosa d'En Sarria whilst visiting some local waterfalls. On a small quiet road, well outside the town, we spotted the cemetery by chance as we waited at the crossroads.  

The tall white walls that surround the Cemetery, do not allow passers by to see what is beyond them, even the gates above, can only be seen from outside when they are locked. It's only a small sign on the wall above that gives any indication as to what this place may be.

Imagine our surprise to find this beautifully tended oasis of peaceful greenery, on such a hot and dusty day.

A few mausoleums lined the main avenue of cypress trees that led from the gates and apart from a few graves dotted about on the lawns, the majority of tombs are wall vaults that stand 3 or 4 high.

As the cemetery expands, new areas have been built to accomodate future interments.

Spain is traditionally a Catholic country, so many of the carvings on the memorials are of a devoutly religious nature.

However one or two of the more modern ones did show the interests of those they were dedicated to. I shall include them in future posts.

Sunday 18 September 2011

His Sister is Missing

This is the poster that hangs on the wall of the South Lodge in Brompton Cemetery, showing the graveside where the children originally stood.
Unfortunately the pair were stolen some 10 years ago, however the little boy turned up for sale in an auction, where he was recognised and returned to Brompton. He now resides in the South Lodge for safe keeping, sadly his sister has never been recovered.

If you've seen her and know of her whereabouts, please contact Brompton Cemetery, London, UK tel: 020 7352 1201. As her brother is missing her.........  

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Ceramic Flowers

The ceramic flowers above come from various cemeteries in England, Wales and the Netherlands. They were particularly popular during Victorian times, providing an eternal floral tribute that ensured the graveside constantly appeared well tended, unlike fresh flowers that ultimately wither and die and would indicate how regularly the site was visited. 

The flowers themselves are made from sandstone and then brightly glazed in the Majolica style, it was a very popular pottery of it's time, and included a variety of decorative household items, from tableware to jardinieres and ornamental pieces.

It seems that France is now the main producer of these ceramic flowers, where there are many fine examples throughout the country's cemeteries. They are still exported worldwide today, with Australia importing them as they favour the European burial style.
Here are a few grand examples of ceramic flowers found at Pere Lachaise and Pons in France.

Monday 5 September 2011

Monday Mourning ~ Tomb Styles

Temple Tombs

Brompton Cemetery

Temple Tombs have a low pitched roof that is supported on columns as shown above or with a similar roof supported by pillars at the front and with a solid wall at the rear, resembling a porticoed facade in the style of a Grecian Temple.

The Greek Revival style was a popular architectural movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, predominantly in Northern Europe and the United States.

Sunday 4 September 2011

War Memorial ~ Alfreton, Derbyshire

To the
Glory of God
and in Memory of
the Men of
who gave their lives
in the Great War
1914 ~ 1918

I thought that the depiction of a little girl standing with the Soldier was particularly poignant. 
The child may be a representation of the Innocent and the Future generations that these men fought and laid down their lives for and on a more personal level, for the Fathers, Uncles, Brothers and Sons who would never return to their families.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Cemeteries of the World ~ Brompton Cemetery ~ London, England

The West London and Westminster Cemetery Company, as it was known, was established in 1836 and then opened in 1840. Its founder was the architect, inventor and entrepreneur Stephen Geary, who had previously created Highgate and Nunhead cemeteries. Brompton's original 39 acres was purchased from Lord Kensington in1838.
It is regarded as one of the finest Victorian Metropolitan cemeteries in the country, with it's formal layout of a central avenue leading to a chapel based on St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

St. Peters Basilica, Rome

Brompton Cemetery, London

The cemetery company directors held a competition for the design of its buildings, judged by the distinguished architect Sir Jeffry Wyattville. He chose a design by one of his assistants, Benjamin Baud c.1807~1875, as the work was strongly reminiscent of Wyatville's own and they had also worked together at Windsor Castle, which can be seen in the background of this portrait of him.

Benjamin Baud

With Baud as the designer, Geary's own preposals were rejected and forced him to resign from the board of directors. 
The site had been a featureless brickworks and market garden, but Baud's design used this to create an immense Open-Air Cathedral with a central ‘Nave ~ Central Avenue' 2000 ft. to a spectacular ‘High Altar ~ the Domed Chapel’, through the 300 ft. Great Circle, inspired by the piazza of St. Peter’s in Rome.

The original plan was to have kept the Great Circle of Brompton cemetery clear of graves, with the burials taking place outside of the Colonnades. However it's huge popularity soon meant that these spaces eventually became used too.

The Great Circle

The Cemetery planting was completed in 1846, and it was recorded that there was once a double avenue of Limes flanked by Pines lining the central drive, these appear on Ordnance Survey maps of 1865 and 1895. Only the Limes now remain.

Central Avenue looking toward the Domed Chapel

Central Avenue looking toward the Main Gate

Two prominent colonnades flank Central Avenue and the Great Circle, with catacombs beneath, entered by impressive cast-iron doors.

Catacomb Door

Matching bell towers were planned for either side of the arcades, but financial constraints meant that only the western one was actually built.

The Bell Tower

Originally there were plans for ‘Transepts’ on either side, with dedicated chapels for Roman Catholics and Dissenters, but financial constraints and social prejudice foretold against both. 
A failed attempt to purchase a plot on which to build a chapel, caused an independent group of Roman Catholics to secure a site adjacent to Kensal Green Cemetery, where they established the Roman Catholic Cemetery of St. Mary's. As a result of this, several monks were then exhumed from Brompton for reburial there. The present chapel was initially reserved for the Church of England, but later re~dedicated for Nonconformist use.

The Domed Chapel


The directors pushed ahead with Baud’s grandiose scheme, despite concerns that the project was proving far more expensive than the estimated £30,000 for the whole job. By 1841, £61,000 had been spent with the work not yet completed.
Building was still in progress when the Bishop of London, Charles Blomfield, consecrated the cemetery in June 1840. Using the northeast lodge as a temporary chapel so that the first burial took place on 18 June 1840.

The builder, Philip Nowell, advanced the cemetery company large sums of money to continue working, due to a resession at that time and business being slow. The management then noticed structural defects, for which Nowell and Baud blamed one another. The directors owed Nowell so much that they took his side and Baud was dismissed, he later attempted to sue the Company, as previously Geary had done, but both men were unsuccessful.

Uncertainty then arose over Lord Kensington's entitlement to have sold the site, which appeared to have already been transferred in a marriage settlement. The matter was resolved through litigation, which lasted until 1854.
The Interments Act of 1850 prohibited burial in congested urban churchyards and crypts, giving the state the power of compulsory purchase over commercial cemeteries such as Brompton. The Act was repealed by the 1852 Metropolitan Burials Act, but not before an official offer had been made for the cemetery. Brompton Cemetery became the only private cemetery purchased under the 1850 Act, and also the first ever to be nationalised. It is still Britain's only crown cemetery, held for the last 50 years in the care of the Royal Parks Agency.

People from all walks of life are buried here, including thirteen holders of the Victorian Cross and Chelsea Pensioners. The cemetery provides a haven of peace, beauty and tranquillity where 'The public are permitted to walk daily'.

Brompton Cemetery's burial archive, has been transcribed onto a computer data base from the 140 registers. Original cemetery records, are held in the Public Record Office at Kew.
Brompton Cemetery was originally designed to accommodate some 60,000 plots in a combination of common and private graves.
Plots on the east side were sold in perpetuity as 'Private Graves' with heritable deeds.

Private Grave of A.B. Smith
A.K 35756

These graves could be up to 19 ft. deep and contain brick-lined vaults beneath for large monuments or mausolea to be placed above.
This encouraged wealthy families to build grand monuments which could accommodate several generations, as a lasting symbol of their status.
Plots on the west side, large sections of cheaper 'Common Graves' accommodated several unrelated coffins in one deep cut with no right to erect a monument above. Some were dug almost 22 ft. deep, taking up to ten adult burials. There are very few actual 'Pauper's Graves'.
From 1854 until 1939, Brompton also became the London District's Military Cemetery, after the churchyard used by the London Garrison was closed by the Interments Act.
The War Ministry paid reduced fees and servicemen were often buried in unmarked common graves. However, the Royal Hospital Chelsea purchased its own plot near the north west corner, and the Household Cavalry and the Brigade of Guards laid claim to sections due south of that.

Brigade of Guards

There were some 155,000 interments by 1900, but little more than 50,000 followed before the cemetery was closed to new burials in 1952. Over the next 40 years, Brompton Cemetery only received interments in established family and military graves.
In 1996 it was re~opened again for new burials, with provision for single and family burials, leased for a period of 75 to 100 years and the deposit of cremated remains, leased from 30 to 75 years or more.
Amongst its shady walks are over 35,000 monuments - many of historical importance.

Headstone of Emmeline Pankhurst 
leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote

Many thanks go to the Friends of Brompton Cemetery for their valuable information. Please click on the bold type for further info and dates and timings of guided walks and events.

Thursday 1 September 2011

The Magnificent Seven

No, no, no, not this Magnificent Seven.......
However it was due to the title of this 1960's film, that Architectural Historian Hugh Meller, used the phrase in 1981 to describe seven of the large cemeteries in London.
It was between 1800 and 1850 the population of London doubled in size, from 1 million to more than 2 million inhabitants. This was due to London becoming the world's commercial capital after the victory of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

At this time, London's dead were buried in small parish churchyards, but as the population escalated, these soon became dangerously overcrowded. This in turn lead to decaying matter seeping into the water supply and caused epidemics to spread rapidly due to inadequate sanitary conditions.
There were stories of shallow graves being dug up and once the coffin wood was removed for use as firewood, the bodies were then simply flushed directly into the newly-built sewer system.     

From the 1820s onwards, private entrepreneurs attempted to solve the problem by creating suburban cemeteries, with ample landscaped acreage and independent from the parish church. As a result the 'Garden Cemetery' movement was formed.

In an era before the existence of large urban parks, these garden cemeteries became popular places for a carriage ride or a stroll.
In 1832 Parliament passed a bill which encouraged the establishment of private cemeteries outside London, and later passed another bill to close all inner London churchyards from accepting new interments.

Over the next decade the seven cemeteries were established:

The Magnificent Seven appealed to the newly emerging wealthier middle class, who were keen to distance themselves from the working classes. These cemeteries provided a place where these families could establish permanent monuments to themselves and were seen as an extension to the family's property, these grand and often elaborate tombs were a public display of their social status.

 Brompton Cemetery

Click on the bold type cemetery name above to visit their web page for more information. 

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