Brompton Cemetery review
Mr Chambers is a very quiet today, and that's not like him -- on his epitaph it says he's the liveliest guy in the room. I've been standing at the foot of his bed for two minutes and he hasn't made a peep so either he's asleep or he's ignoring me. I know you're down there somewhere, mate. You can't ignore me forever. But that's how it is at Brompton Cemetery: you come here for a bit of company and all you get is the cold shoulder.
As soon as people die they don't want to know you anymore. Have you noticed that? Family, friends, neighbours, people you went to school with, people you've known for years and years -- they move on and it's as if you don't exist all of a sudden. They have their exciting new lives to lead while you're still stuck in a rut in yours.
A large part of the cemetery is rather beautiful with tombs the size of houses, some the size of sheds, and some with concrete columns and crosses on top. A lot of the family crypts have got full-sized front doors with windows round the side, but they're all trapped behind chainlink fences to stop the public peering in. Other parts of the cemetery have just been abandoned to nature, the anarchic kind of nature that advances over everything it sees, and that's where I am right now: trapped under a canopy of dripping trees.
The inscriptions on the gravestones are rather unadventurous (we Brits don't have much imagination when it comes to death). Everyone has either departed or died or simply fallen asleep. All of their beloved mothers, loving husbands, darling little daughters... always in their hearts, in their thoughts, their memories, forever missed, blah blah blah... but it's the flowers that tell the true story. If they've got a vase of plants on top then they're still being loved by someone. If they're disappearing under a spreading mess of weeds then let's be honest: they're forgotten.
When you come to a place like this you realise that it's all totally pointless in the end. Your tomb will eventually get weathered, your name will flake away and the people who knew you will find better things to do. Then you'll spend your days cupping your ear in your coffin as a jogger pants past, or a mother pushes her tandem pram whilst babbling on her phone. Who's that? What are you saying? But you can't hear anything through six feet of mud.
Okay... so this has been a rather downbeat review, but I do actually like this place. I don't mind walking around the weeds and fallen trees. But there's nothing here for a tourist. If you want to visit a truly beautiful cemetery then read my review of Highgate.
I’ve been here before…
|Religious events in April|
|Religious events in May|
|Religious events in June|