Thursday, January 09, 2014

2nd 'Magnificent Seven' cemetery records on Deceased Online

The following is from Deceased Online.

Records for historic Kensal Green Cemetery
now on specialist family history website
Second of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries to make all records available exclusively on Deceased Online

All records for Kensal Green, one of the UK’s most historic and celebrated cemeteries, have been digitized and added to the specialist family history website

Located in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensal Green was opened in 1833 by the General Cemetery Company and is the earliest of the capital’s major cemeteries pre-dating Abney Park, Brompton, Highgate, Nunhead, Tower Hamlets and West Norwood; collectively, The Magnificent Seven.   Kensal Green is home to graves for some of London’s most famous Victorians and Edwardians including Isambard ‘Kingdom’ Brunel, Wilkie Collins, William Makepeace Thackeray and Anthony Trollope, a collection of royals 650 members of the titled nobility and over 550 individuals noted in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Earlier in 2013, Deceased Online digitized all records for Brompton Cemetery, managed by The Royal Parks, so Kensal Green becomes the second of The Magnificent Seven to have all records digitized and available online. 

As at Boxing Day, 26th December, 2013 (over 180 years after the first burial), all of Kensal Green Cemetery’s records from 1833 until 1901 are available on the website together with all records for West London Crematorium, 1939 – 2010 located at the same site and managed by General Cemetery Company.  The remaining burial records post 1901 will be added during the early part of 2014 to complete the dataset. 

The records available comprise the following:
·        Digital scans of the original burial reference books
·        Details indicating those buried in each grave
·        Digital scans of the original cremation registers (up to 1993, thereafter, computerized records)
Early in 2014 we will also add maps of the cemetery which will indicate the section location of each of the graves. 

“Many..regard Kensal Green as the most distinguished of London’s cemeteries”.  So say Hugh Meller and Brian Parsons in‘London’s Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazeteer’.   It is the 2nd of London’s great cemeteries to have records available on Deceased Online. 

Deceased Online has unique records for 3 million London burials and cremations from private cemeteries and crematoria, local authorities and archives.  These represent approximately 10 million data items.  Cemeteries and councils from Aberdeen in North Scotland down to South Devon have also added records, creating a unique database portal for tens of millions of British cemetery and crematorium data.  The website is used extensively by amateurs and professionals worldwide, researching family history, and those simply trying to locate lost relatives or ancestors. 

The Kensal Green digitization project was carried out on behalf of the General Cemetery Company to improve public access to the records and also to conserve these important records.  Lee Snashfold, Director of General Cemetery Company, said: “We are delighted to have had all our records digitized which not only enables greater, easier access to these important records but also improves our own internal management systems.  As one of the premier cemeteries in London, it is good for us to be in the vanguard of digitization and web access.” 

An important local history group and charity, The Friends of Kensal Green, is dedicated to the preservation, conservation and restoration of the Cemetery for the public benefit.  The Friends group not only campaigns to help conserve the many listed buildings and monuments but also provides tours, exhibitions and information about the Cemetery.  For more information, see

The famous….and infamous
Many famous people are buried in the Cemetery or have passed through the Crematorium.  The Friends state on their website:
“….Its notable personalities include some 650 members of the titled nobility and over 550 individuals noted in the Dictionary of National Biography. Kensal Green is the resting place of the engineers Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the mathematician Charles Babbage, and the novelists Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope and William Makepeace Thackeray; Lord Byron's wife, Oscar Wilde's mother, Charles Dickens' in-laws and Winston Churchill's daughter; a cross-dressing Army doctor and the surgeon who attended Nelson at Trafalgar; the creator of Pears' Soap, and the original WH Smith; the funambulist Blondin and the Savoyard George Grossmith; the first man to cross Australia from south to north, and the last man to fight a duel in England…..”

Kensal Green boasts 140 Grade I, II* and II buildings and memorials including the following:
  • The Anglican and Dissenters chapels
  • The main Entrance Gateway
  • Royal tombs of Princess Sophia and Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex - children of George III
  • Mausoleum of Duke of Cambridge
  • Charles Babbage 1791-1871, inventor of calculating machines, forerunners of computers
  • 'James' Barry, 1795-1865 first female ‘cross dressing’ doctor
  • Emile Blondin, 1824-97, tightrope walker, famously walked over the Niagara Falls
  • Isambard 'Kingdom' Brunel, 1806-59, celebrated engineer
  • Sir Marc Brunel, 1769-1849
  • Anne, Lady Byron, 1792-1860, Lord Byron's wife for a  year
  • Marigold Churchill, 1918-21, Churchill's infant daughter
  • Wilkie Collins, 1824-89, novelist, 'The Woman in White', 'Moostone' etc. 
  • Gen Sir Collingwood Dickson, 1817-1904, won VC in the Crimea
  • Isabella Glyn 1823-89, Shakespearian actress, imprisoned for two years for declining to release divorce documents
  • George Grossmith 1847-1912, singer and co-author of 'Diary of a Nobody'
  • Mary Hogarth, 1819-1837, Dickens' sister-in-law and reputedly his mistress
  • James Leigh Hunt, 1784-1859, journalist, author; friend of Keats, Byron & Shelley, at latter's cremation in Italy
  • Sarah Lane, 1822-99, successful actress/manager of the Britannia theatre pantomimes
  • John Liston, 1776-1864, highest paid comic of his era
  • Maj Gen Sir Owen Lloyd, 1854-1941, won VC in Burma, big game hunter, killed 150 head of game in 1 day!
  • John St John Long, 1798-1834, quack doctor and pharmacist
  • Fergus O'Connor, 1794-1855, chartist leader
  • Sir Robert Owen, 1771-1858, philanthropist, pioneer socialist
  • Sir Terence Rattigan, 1911-77, playwright
  • Sir John Rennie, 1794-1874, architect of London Bridge and royal dockyards
  • Edward Seaton, 1815-80, Surgeon , founder of Epidemiological Society
  • William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-63, novelist; Dickens attended his funeral
  • Anthony Trollope, 1815-82, novelist

Freddie Mercury and Ingrid Bergman passed through the crematorium. 

Much more on the history, monuments and personalities associated with Kensal Green can be found on the Friends of Kensal Green’s website,

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