A FEW months back when the sun was still shining in London I visited Kensal Green Cemetery – a trip organisation by London Haunts and Horrors, a group I had just joined.
I’d never heard of Kensal Green before but I’m certainly glad I ventured into unknown territory of the west of London to discover this distinguished cemetery.
The cemetery is located in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
According to Kensal Green Cemetery’s website:
“Inspired by the cemetery of Pere-Lachaises in Paris and founded in 1833 by the Barrister George Frederick Carden Kensal Green Cemetery comprises of 72 acres of beautiful grounds including two conservation areas and an adjoining a canal. The cemetery is home to 33 species of bird and other wildlife. This distinctive cemetery has a host of different of memorials ranging from large mausoleums housing the rich and famous to many distinctive smaller graves and even includes special areas dedicated to the very young. With three chapels catering for people of all faiths and social standing the General Cemetery Company is proud to have provided a haven in the heart London for over 170 years for its inhabitants remember their loved one in a tranquil and dignified environment.”
While I saw plenty of the graves of impressive people, I did not see any names I recognised. Having said that, I don’t tend to visit cemeteries for star-spotting. I like graveyards for the history and the wonderful monuments. If someone famous is buried there, that’s just a bonus.
Kensal Green Cemetery, which is next to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, has about 65,000 graves. It is large and impressive with huge mausoleums and monuments to those who have passed.
Sometimes cemeteries like Highgate Cemetery can be too big. I prefer old churchyards that are hundreds of years old. They have grown organically and the styles of plots, gravestone and monuments covering the churchyard vary in style and fashion. Places like Kensal Green tend to have similar headstones and statues as they’ve been built in the same era. There’s not a lot of variance.
Many in the London Haunts and Horror group visiting on that day felt the cemetery lacked atmosphere. We visited on a day when the sun was shining and it was beautiful weather – not the ideal time to appreciate a creepy overgrown cemetery. I am certain that on a dark and dreary day the some-parts overgrown Kensal Green would indeed be creepy.
That does not take away from the fact that Kensal Green is a great place for a quiet walk and time for contemplation.
I would recommend anyone who likes cemeteries to visit Kensal Green. It is easy to get to – just jump off at Kensal Green Tube on the Bakerloo line. Its main entrance is located on Harrow Road (near the junction with Ladbroke Grove and Chamberlayne Road).