Visit picturesque Brompton Cemetery, a well-loved resting place and wildlife refuge in Kensington.
Brompton is one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries created in the 19th Century in response to a rapidly-growing population. It’s the only cemetery in the country to be owned by the Crown and managed by The Royal Parks.
The cemetery’s imposing Gothic architecture has featured in many films. In the James Bond movie GoldenEye, the outside chapel stands in for a church in St Petersburg while the colonnades above the catacombs feature in the spoof-Bond film, Johnny English.
What is there to see at Brompton Cemetery?
Enter through the imposing gateway of the North Lodge and stroll along the elegant tree-lined Central Avenue which takes you through the middle of the cemetery to the domed chapel. The eight sides of the structure are believed to represent earthly life with the dome rising above, suggesting heaven. Inside, the ornate ceiling is decorated with marigolds and there are eight Corinthian columns supporting the dome.
As you continue your wander, look out for the Grade II-listed Brigade of Guards Monument. The monument is made up of eighteen white headstones which mark the resting place of peacetime casualties from the Brigade of Guards between 1854 and 1899. An elegant marble cross watches over the headstones.
Another significant monument is the pink granite obelisk erected in 1898 to represent the neglected graves of the Chelsea Pensioners, all veteran British Army soldiers who lived at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Below the grounds of the cemetery are the Brompton catacombs. Wealthy families could buy ornate lead-lined coffins which would rest on open shelves. Although briefly popular, catacombs quickly fell out of favour and very few of the shelves were ever filled.
What famous people are buried in Brompton Cemetery?
Emma Shaw was the first person to be buried at Brompton Cemetery. Her plain gravestone sits among grander tributes to the more famous inhabitants of the cemetery.
Emmeline Pankhurst, best remembered for her prominence in the UK’s suffragette movement and championing womens rights to vote, is buried here. The purple, white and green flowers that are often laid against her gravestone represent the colours of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) which she set up in 1903.
Another famous resident is Dr John Snow who carried out ground-breaking work in the areas of anaesthetics and medical hygiene, including research that proved that cholera was spread by drinking infected water.
Among the many other notable residents are Canadian shipping magnate, Sir John Cunard, Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears, founder of Chelsea Football Club, Fanny Brawne, muse of Romantic poet John Keats, conductor and composer Alfred Mellon and Victorian adventuress Elizabeth le Blond.
Where is Brompton Cemetery?
Brompton Cemetery is in West Brompton in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
How do I get to Brompton Cemetery?
The closest Tube station to Brompton Cemetery is West Brompton (District line), which is an eight-minute walk away. Earls Court (District and Piccadilly lines) is an 11-minute walk away.
There are plenty of bus routes with stops close to Brompton Cemetery.
Venue details and map
Fulham Road, Kensington
- +44 (0)30 0061 2172