Kensal Green Cemetery Open Day 2014

Review by Claudia Bauch
Photography by Claudia Bauch & Steve Salmon

5th July 2014
Hosted by Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery
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Cemetery tour:

11:00 – General and Historicalwith Julian Litten
11.30 – Theatre of Blood with Peter Fuller (meet on the steps of the Anglican Chapel)
12:00 – Dickens Connections with Signe Hoffos
12.30 – General and Historical with Henry Vivian-Neal
13:00 – Victorian Artists, Models and Associates with Angela Bolger (lots of walking!)
13:30 – Kensal Green’s Women with Claire Aston
14:00 – Listed Monuments with Signe Hoffos
14:30 – Ne’er-do-Wells with Rob Stephenson
15:00 – Architecture of the Cemetery with Jenny Freeman
15:30 – The Unexplored South-west with John White (lots of walking!)
16:00 – General and Historical with Sue Richardson-Capel

Pop-up art cinema in Catacomb Z, beneath the Dissenters’ Chapel, with short films, animation and interactive installations

Friends’ membership and bookstall in the Dissenters’ Gallery, with book signings from Dr. Julian Litten (The English Way of Death), Malcolm Johnson (Crypts of London), Ann Treneman (Finding the Plot: 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die) and Kensal Green authors

Handmade velvet-covered coffin and lead lining by Lee Reynolds in the Dissenters’ Chapel

Stalls in and around the portico of the Dissenters’ Gallery include:
Hand-painted ceramics by Lynn Bentley
Posh hampers from Verena Lewis
Barbara Harrison’s celebrated cemetery jams and chutneys
Stained glass from Gary & Jane
Gothic-themed handicrafts by Sue Capel Richardson
Jeanne Trend-Hill photography and books
Tanya Waters’ ‘Butterfly’ clothes and jewellery

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We arrived at Kensal Green Cemetery just in time for the “Theatre of Blood” Tour, hosted by Peter Fuller.

After joining a substantial group of spectators at the “Angelican Chapel”, Peter Fuller started the tour with a short introduction of the movie. He described a few key moments and scenes, before guiding us to four monuments/ locations within the cemetery, which played an important part in the movie.

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Our tour guide involved us in his tour as much as possible, by letting us read verses out of various Shakespeare plays, asking questions about the different scenes of the movie or the actors, while providing prints of photographs of the actors and Shakespeare verses, used in this movie.

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Once our tour had finished, we had the choice of participating in various other cemetery tours like “General History of Kensal Green”, “Dickens Connections”, “Victorian Artists and Associates”, “Architecture of the Cemetery” but we decided, to make our way to the “Dissenters Chapel”, to meet up with our friends, browse through the stalls and enjoy the refreshments on offer.

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Besides offering refreshments, we had the opportunity to visit the crypt of the “Dissenters Chapel”, browse through stalls selling clothing, prints and postcards of the cemetery and admire fascinating historical artifacts, found in the cemetery, a handcrafted blue velvet coffin and hearses.

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The visitors had also the chance to talk to the author Malcom Johnson “Crypts of London” and Dr. Julian Litten “The English Way of Death, the Common Funeral Since 1450” , who were selling and signing their books.

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After the stalls, crypts and all the entertainment on offer, we and our friends decided to return to the older part of the cemetery for a gothic picnic.

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While walking up the beautiful path, surrounded by majestic graveyard monuments, we couldn’t resist taking a few photographs before sitting down in the arcade of the “Angelican Chapel”, were we enjoyed a wonderful picnic!

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