London's Top 5 Cemeteries
- Monday March 18th 2019
Here at the London Dungeon, we wanna remain as transparent as possible about where you’re gonna *ahem* end up…and let’s face it, most of you lot will be going home in a box. With that in mind, our Dungeon Master has come up with a list of five of London’s most intriguing cemeteries. Ones our Head Master would love to send you off to. Once you’ve had your bits chopped off by the Torturer ‘a course...
This Grade II listed graveyard is one of London's largest cemeteries and is part of ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Let me explain. For hundreds of years, the majority of London’s dead bodies were buried in the grounds of dangerously overcrowded parish churches. However, in the 19th century, the powers that be decided that for everyone’s sake (plague, rats, death!) they should allocate seven huge, garden-style spaces specifically for the dead instead. Among them is Highgate Cemetery which has laid to rest many famous names. The philosopher Karl Marx, Catherine Dickens (wife of Charles), Charles Cruft, founder of the famous dog show ‘Crufts’ and British punk legend, Malcolm McLaren are all buried here.
Set underneath the vast shadow of Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets cemetery is situated in one of the poorest boroughs of London. Its hallowed grounds - set in the largest woodland area of East London - hold the graves of many working-class sailors, mariners and dock workers including the late John Willis, owner and founder of the Cutty Sark. This graveyard is just a stones throw from Whitechapel and of course, is the very borough in which Jack The Ripper roamed, so you'd better keep your wits about you...
Known as the graveyard for the ‘Outcast Dead’, Cross Bones was the final resting place for an estimated 15,000 paupers and the women known as The Winchester Geese. These women were medieval sex workers licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work in the brothels of The Liberty of the Clink - an area outside the laws of the City Of London. In death, the ladies who worked in these 'pleasure dens’, as well as in the theatres and bear-baiting pits along the South Bank, were denied Christian burial rites.This is the kind of place where our Mary Jane Kelly and other Jack The Ripper victims would have been buried had it not closed in 1853. Today its gates hold many ribbons, messages and prayers for the bodies who lie here.
Another big contender - and the first ever of the 'Magnificent Seven' to be built - is Kensal Green graveyard, now a major conservation area in London. Home to a high number of Grecian-style and Gothic monuments, this majestic cemetery hosts many Grade I and II listed buildings including one of the few original catacombs in London with working coffin-lift. James Malcolm Rymer, the Penny Dreadful writer and co-creator of the Dungeon's favourite demon barber, Sweeney Todd, is buried here (!) as well as Wilkie Collins, author of British Gothic classic, The Woman in White.
Last but not least, Brompton Cemetery, another one of London’s 'Magnificent Seven'. This Grade I listed green space is home to some stunning architecture and houses it's very own Gothic chapel. Famous British children's author, Beatrix Potter (we get a lot of time to read in the Dungeon) is said to have named her characters after those inscribed on some of the cemetery’s 35,000 headstones. Famous Suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst is buried here too, as well as two famous anesthetists, John Snow and Joseph Thomas Clover. Shame they aren't around to give our resident Plague Doctor some tips...