Eternal Elegance: Unveiling London’s ‘Magnificent Seven Cemeteries’
Online Walking Tour
Step into the intriguing Victorian era with Royal Oak on a virtual tour of London’s 19th-century municipal cemeteries, known as the “Magnificent Seven.” As London’s population grew during the early 19th century, local parish burial grounds became dangerously overcrowded and threatened public health—decay even seeping into groundwater. In 1832, Parliament passed an act encouraging the establishment of suburban cemeteries outside of London. Architects called for cemeteries inspired by the design of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, a garden cemetery that included memorials to WWI, mausoleums, and private commemorations in a landscaped park-like setting.
The Magnificent Seven started with Kensal Green, in Kensington and Chelsea, which opened in 1833. Designed by Richard Forrest, it features grand memorials and carved stone symbols which echo the legacies and stories of the remarkable individuals laid to rest within their grounds. Rob Smith will explain about the development and history of London’s seven municipal cemeteries. He will illustrate the intricate memorials, deciphering and explaining the hidden meanings and artistic nuances that make up the Victorian language of remembrance. He also will explain how rural cemeteries, before the development of public parks, were meant for public use and provided a place for people to enjoy the outdoors and sculptural art. Finally, Mr. Smith will discuss the eminent figures of art and literature, and the pioneers of industry and innovation, who are honored in these parks.