London’s “Magnificent Seven”

Did you know that during the 19th Century, to alleviate overcrowding in existing parish burial grounds, seven private cemeteries were established around London?

In just 50 years, London’s population had doubled from 1 million in 1800 to 2.3 million in 1850. Stories of body snatchers and graves being dug that already contained bodies prompted a creation of  several cemeteries, independent of any parish church, with well-thought out landscape design to appeal to the newly emerging middle-class.

These were to be known as “London’s Magnificent Seven Cemeteries” and aren’t only the resting places of many well-known names in British industrial history, but have become unique and historic visitor attractions.

These seven are:

  1. Kensal Green Cemetery - Click to see our extensive list of engineers known to be buried here.Isambard Kingdom Brunel's tomb at The Kensal Green Cemetery.
  2. Highgate Cemetery - One of the most famous of the seven and resting place for Michael Faraday and Karl Marx amongst others.
  3. Nunhead Cemetery - Consecrated in 1840,  this quiet burial ground shelters an Anglican chapel.
  4. West Norwood Cemetery -Perhaps the most ‘well-maintained’ than the others, Henry Bessemer and Sir Henry Tate are buried here.The resting place of Henry Bessemer, (West Norwood Cemetery).
  5. Abney Park Cemetery -In 1840 this cemetery was arranged as an extensive A-Z arboretum, with several organised visitor’s attractions.
  6. Brompton Cemetery - Said to host tombstones that inspired character names for Beatrix Potter’s children’s books, this cemetery nurtures a domed chapel and the graves of Charles Vignoles and John Fowler.
  7. Tower Hamlets Cemetery - This cemetery was opened in 1841 and closed for burials in 1966. It’s now a peaceful nature reserve.

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