Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brompton Cemetery

One chilly day last month, I set off to find Brompton Cemetery, a Victorian cemetery located in southwest London near Earl's Court, and an ambitious walk away from our home in Chelsea. It is one of the Magnificent Seven, a group of seven cemeteries that were built in the 19th century to meet the needs of an ever growing London. Previously, burials had taken place in the smaller church yards around town, but they were all full and presented a health danger at the time.

Brompton Cemetery is full of beautiful and haunting chapels

of all shapes and sizes. Today it is used more as a public park than a burial place.

In its 39 acres, funerary symbols such as this broken column, representing life cut short, are everywhere. More about these symbols in my earlier blog about Highgate.

The statues throughout the cemetery are beautiful.

In the center is a domed chapel, built in 1839 and modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

What emotions can be found on the faces of the statues watching over those at rest!

As if tears fell from their eyes....

in sorrow.

A series of colonnades flanks both sides of the cemetery, under which are located the catacombs. You might recognize this scene as a spot where Sherlock Holmes made a surprising discovery in the recently released movie of that name.

And oddly enough, one side of the cemetery is in the shadow of the Chelsea Football Stadium. Do you imagine that those at rest have any peace on football days? 

Although, cemeteries can be places of sadness, they are also places of hope, as seen in the first blooms of spring--little snowdrop flowers, and....

the birds watching over the unfolding of new life, singing songs of hope.


  1. Another beautiful post, Debi! We visited a similar cemetary in Buenos Aires.

  2. I love old cemetaries, too, Debs. This was a GREAT post. You and I and some friends need to go to the cemetary in Brenham, TX --- georgeous statues there!! It'd be a great spring outing and the bluebonnets, blooming in all their splendor, would lead us there!

  3. Thank you Debi...I had never really thought of touring a cemetary. But it is true that the statuary and the inscriptions on the tombs must be moving from time to time. And I was wondering why the cemetary looked so familiar, but yes, we saw the Sherlock Holmes movie so, aha.

  4. Leave it to London to make a cemetery beautiful!

  5. this is one of my favorite posts! such a poignant
    history lesson, ending with songs of hope!

    thank you for your sweet encouragement today
    at my place.