… I plan to visit Kensal Green Cemetery again. Haven’t done so in over 25 years. The last time I did it, sometime in 1982, I didn’t get the chance to see all I wanted to. Some people have this real thing about cemeteries, I am not one of them. Until I discovered Kensal Green Cemetery, South Park Street Cemetery in Calcutta was the only one for me. It was close to where I was born, close to where I grew up, close to my school, close to my college, close to the people and things I cared about. There were many days when I went to visit friends “cutting through” the cemetery even though I didn’t need to, there was such a sense of history there.
Kensal Green Cemetery is in a different class. Here’s a sample of the people buried or cremated there:
Charles Babbage, the man behind the difference engine; Charles Blondin, acrobat and tightrope walker; Robert Brown (of Brownian motion fame); Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Wilkie Collins, of The Moonstone and The Woman In White; George Cruikshank, the Dickens illustrator; Leigh Hunt, the writer of Abou ben Adhem, whose tribe may increase; Freddie Mercury; Terence Rattigan of The Winslow Boy and Separate Tables; Howard Staunton, who gave us the Staunton chess pieces; William Makepeace Thackeray; Anthony Trollope, creator of Barsetshire.
Calcutta used to be a City of Palaces. The Daniells were the ones that let me see what used to be, and what could be again, as I walked the streets in my youth. So I will go back to Kensal Green Cemetery sometime this month. And yes, I will be back at South Park Street as well, sometime in the next twelve months. Been too long.