DISSENTERS’ CHAPEL

Kensal Green Cemetery - Dissenters' ChapelDesigned by Sir John D Paul, Chairman of the General Cemetery Company and John Griffith in 1833, it is listed Grade II*

The Chapel is of the Greek Revival style with a tetrastyle portico in the Ionic Order. The portico has four fluted columns with Ionic capitals and bases. These support a plain entablature, frieze and projecting cornice. There is no decoration to the tympanum. It has two curved colonnaded wings in the Doric Order standing on a podium.

The Chapel is constructed of brick, rendered with decorative elements faced in Portland stone. There is a brick vaulted catacomb beneath.

It has two wings, divided into three bays by four linked antae. The rear wall is rendered and the bays are divided by pilasters. The wing ends have fluted Doric columns in antis with no bases. The podium paving is constructed of sandstone slabs.

The Chapel is entered through a large gated doorway with a panelled door. The entrance doorway is detailed with a simple architrave moulding, cornice and decorative console.

INTERNALLY

A decorative scheme dating from the mid 19th Century is stencilled internally which was revealed in the repair programme completed in 1997. Surviving physical evidence and original drawings enabled an accurate reconstruction of the internal furnishings and fittings.

ANGLICAN CHAPEL

Kensal Green Cemetery - Anglican ChapelDesigned by Sir John D Paul, Chairman of the General Cemetery Company and John Griffith in 1836-7, it is listed Grade I.

This is the largest structure within the cemetery It has a Greek Doric tetrastyle portico, with L-shaped’ wings and a catacomb beneath. The chapel is rectangular; brick built, faced in render with channelwork and has Portland stone pilasters.

At the front the four fluted columns are baseless with plain capitals and neck rings. Similar to the entrance gateway, the Chapel has an identical entablature with mutules, triglyphs and guttae although with a plain pediment and coffered ceiling.

The rear of the chapel has clasping pilasters, a Diocletian stained glass window, Portland stone dressings and a recessed plain panel.

INTERNALLY

A pair of doors give access to the interior; first into a vestibule, then into the chapel. Smaller doors on each side of the vestibule lead to a former vestry on the right and to the catacombs on the left. Blank panels intended for memorials occupy the wall spaces above these doors. A pair of Doric columns mark the entrance to the ceremonial area.

Some of the original fixtures and fittings survive, including the York stone paving and timber floor In plan it is similar to Ayot St Lawrence Church, but also to Sir John Soane’s vestibule for the Bank of England in the City. The layout is cruciform with coffered barrel vaults and Greek key decoration over each arm of the Cross. The piers and pilasters carry a deep entablature which was enriched with triglyphs and mutules. Over the main body of the chapel the ceiling, raised on pendentives, form a canopy-like vault. Its shallow plaster dome is ribbed and scalloped. At the apex is a rose of acanthus leaves surrounded by a Greek key pattern.

The Chapel is used for funeral services and there is a hydraulic catafalque for lowering coffins into the catacomb. It was added soon after the Chapel was built in 1837, and designed by an enterprising engineer, a Mr A Smith of Princes Street, Leicester Square. The principle o operation was a screw jack mechanism. However, the primitive manufacturing processes of the early 1800’s meant that this apparatus was far from reliable and in 1844 it was replaced.

The new device worked on the principle similar to that of the one installed in West Norwood Cemetery. The catafalque worked on an unusual hydraulic principal, with its main advantage being silent operation in both raising and in particular lowering mode. The work was complete by the firm of Bramah and Robinson.

The catafalque was recently restored and bought back into use in May 1997 by the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. The repaired catafalque is extremely important and rare as a working mechanism.

Underneath the chapel is a brick-vaulted catacomb which is divided into section (Ioculi) with brick walls and shelves a stone slabs. Some Ioculi have decorative grills or glass fronts, others are sealed, the remainder are left open.

 





















 

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