Brompton Cemetery is one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries and is named so for a very good reason. Managed by the Royal Parks and situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, it is a marvelous oddity of its affluent location. The cemetery was with its fellow six London cemeteries in a ring around the capital in the 1830s to ease the city’s overcrowded graveyards and subsequently provide public green space for the busy capital. Its founder was the architect, inventor and entrepreneur Stephen Geary (1797-1854), who had previously created cemeteries at Highgate and Nunhead, both of which are magnificent in their own rights and are also well worth a visit.
Over 200,000 people rest in the cemetery and when you’re there and you really think about that fact it can seem rather morbid. However, once you notice the sheer amount of wildlife running between the pavements and mystical-looking mausoleums it transforms this place into some kind of ominous wonderland, instantly distracting you from any weighing sadness that could easily veil over the location.
Nestled among the spectacularly colourful trees and endless shrubbery are over 35,000 gravestones and monuments, all of which are completely original with their own story to tell. The cemetery is kept alive through the amazing stories of all the people buried there (which you can inquire about in the office near the entrance, they’re so helpful and friendly!). There are some well-known names who were laid to rest here such as Emmeline Pankhurst and John Snow.
Today you can walk through this cemetery just like you would your local park. (For me it is actually one of my local parks, as it is only a short walk from the area of Kensington that I now live in). I always seem to want to go to locations like this in Autumn. There’s something so nice about some golden sunshine on a chilly day with all the burnt orange leaves. If you’re going to head down there then take a big flask of tea and your camera if you want to snap some good shots. The light always breaks up beautifully in the autumnal sunshine, you’re guaranteed to get some fantastic photos!