Within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea survive two cemeteries dating from second quarter of the 19th Century, Brompton and Kensal Green.
Of the two, Kensal Green is the earlier in date being more important historically, pre-eminent nationally in terms of its influence, importance of people buried there, overall richness and the number of outstanding memorials.
The outstanding buildings include a separately listed Anglican Chapel, All Souls, (Grade I), a Non-Conformist Mortuary Chapel (Grade II*), Entrance Gateway (Grade II*), colonnade/catacomb (Grade II), and the gateway opposite Wakeman Road (Grade II). The perimeter walls and railings are listed grade II*.
Following a re-listing survey there are now 130 listed tombs, memorials and mausoleums, eight of which are grade II.
Indeed “Many people would regard Kensal Green as the most distinguished of London’s cemeteries. Not only is it older than the others with an early history synonymous with the history of the whole English cemetery movement, but it also retains its original range of buildings and boasts an unequalled array of mausolea, three of which commemorate royalty.”
(London Cemeteries, Hugh Meller, 1994).
The English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens for Greater London includes Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery at Grade II*.
The Council designated Kensal Green Cemetery a Conservation Area in October 1984 and Brompton Cemetery in May 1985. Both designations recognised the national importance of the surviving architectural and historical interest from the Victorian period and were intended to promote the Cemeteries’ restoration. The greater part of Kensal Green Cemetery is consecrated ground and therefore comes under the Church of England’s faculty jurisdiction.
The Cemetery is owned and managed by the General Cemetery Company as a burial place and crematorium. Cemeteries and crematoria are essential local services, the aim being a sympathetic environment for the dignified burial of the dead. This is unusual for a major historic cemetery still to be in private hands, let alone the founding company As well as an historic place of interest, Kensal Green Cemetery also is a large area of green open land within the Borough with a wildlife habitat.