ROYAL BOROUGH OF KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA CEMETERY, HANWELL
- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Greater London Authority
- Ealing (London Borough)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 15835 80466
One of the first public cemeteries to be opened after the Metropolitan Interment Act of 1850, designed by Thomas Allom in 1855.
The cemetery was opened by the parish of St Mary Abbotts, Kensington, in 1855, one year after the opening of the nearby Westminster Cemetery (qv) by the Burial Board of St George's, Hanover Square. The cemetery was designed on a c 6.5ha plot by Thomas Allom, surveyor to the Ladbroke estate in Kensington. Allom, who had come second in the competition for the Brompton Cemetery commission held in 1838, also designed a funerary chapel at Highclere Castle, Hants (qv) and the gothic mausoleum for George Dodd at West Norwood Cemetery, Lambeth (qv). The cemetery was enlarged to the west by the incorporation of 1.4 ha of former orchard land in the 1870s. A smaller rectangular plot of c 1.2ha was added to the east side at a slightly later date (OS 1895). The cemetery is now (2000) owned and managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The cemetery, which occupies c 9ha of level ground, is located in a residential area in the northern part of Hanwell, 14km west of the centre of London. The site is bounded to the north by the London to Reading railway line while housing adjoins the remaining boundaries. To the east and south-east are the rear gardens of C19 terraced houses on Eccleston Road and Shirley Gardens, and to the south and west there is mixed housing, mainly consisting of late C20 apartment blocks. Approximately half of the late C19 brick wall with brick pillars which originally surrounded the cemetery grounds has been replaced by prefabricated concrete fencing. The c 120m long entrance walk north from Uxbridge Road (Broadway), which enters between C19 terraced houses, is bounded by wrought-iron fences.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The cemetery is approached from Uxbridge Road through a Gothic-style arch (C19) with wrought-iron gates and railings standing c 200m south of the mortuary chapel. This opens onto a narrow straight entrance walk accompanied on both sides by bands of lawns with rectangular beds and screened by high evergreen hedges of yew, laurel, holly, and other flowering shrubs. A C19 gatekeeper's lodge lies adjacent to the gothic arch on the west side of the entrance walk. The walk enters the main cemetery towards the south-west corner. The second entrance, a two-winged wooden panel gate flanked by brick gate piers, is situated approximately midway along the western brick wall.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING In the centre of the cemetery, c 100m north of the main entrance, stands the Victorian Gothic-style Anglican mortuary chapel and the arcade which formerly linked it to the Nonconformist chapel which stood to the east. The Nonconformist chapel and parts of the surviving building were demolished c 1972, but the Anglican chapel has since been restored.
OTHER LAND The central focus of the cemetery is the mortuary chapel, in similar style to the entrance lodge on Uxbridge Road. The original area of the cemetery, surrounding the mortuary chapel, is traversed by winding paths in a picturesque layout. The later extensions to west and east have a simpler path layout consisting of perimeter walks along the boundaries of the new plots with small circular lawns in the middle. The lawns are planted with a mixture of mature trees dominated by holly, yew, and specimen conifers. Mature deciduous trees line the boundary walls.
The entrance walk from Uxbridge Road is continued to the north by a straight gravel path which turns north-west on the chapel's west front. On reaching the former mid C19 west boundary the path turns eastwards and follows the former perimeter until it rejoins the entrance walk on the south boundary. The northern lawn between the chapel and the perimeter is scattered with a few old gravestones shadowed by mature trees and clumps of shrubs. An old sweet chestnut underplanted with holly stands in the north-east part of the lawn.
The tombs and monuments are concentrated in the southern half of the old part of the cemetery, which is dotted with flowering cherries. In the other parts the gravestones stand two or three rows deep alongside the paths. The circular path in the eastern extension is bounded by mature pines and cedars and surrounded by late C19 tombs. In the western lawns the tombs and urn burials date from c 1920 onwards. A First World War memorial consisting of a tall white stone cross, and a small rectangular burial ground with war graves lies c 60m north-west of the mortuary chapel, adjacent to the old western boundary of the cemetery.
The tombs are rarely extravagant, notable exceptions being the monument for Mr Wheeler, a Notting Hill builder, and the 1914 tomb of the conchologist Edgar Smith, decorated with a large conch shell.
Hounsell P, Ealing and Hanwell Past (1991) Meller H, London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer (3rd edn 1994), 206-8
Maps OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1868 2nd edition published 1895 3rd edition published 1920
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Kensington and Chelsea Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A fine informal, Picturesque, early High Victorian (1855) public cemetery for the Metropolis. * The cemetery was laid out by the surveyor to the Ladbroke estate in Kensington, Thomas Allom who also designed the Gothic-style structures. * One of the first public cemeteries to be opened after the Metropolitan Interment Act of 1850. * This, together with the City of Westminster Cemetery (qv), is one of two contemporary cemeteries laid out adjacent to serve significant areas of the Metropolitan population, in contrasting styles. * The layout and structures survive, but with the loss of one of the two chapels and part of a screen linking them. * The varied woody planting is of high quality and survives well. * Metropolitan social interest is expressed in an extensive collection of monuments which are rarely extravagant, notable exceptions being the monument for Mr Wheeler, a Notting Hill builder, and the 1914 tomb of the conchologist Edgar Smith, decorated with a large conch shell.
Description written: February 2000 Register Inspector: CV Amended: September 2001 Edited: Dec 2009
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 11 July 2017.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
- Parks and Gardens
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/29757
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing