Opening the same year as the Great Exhibition, four men founded the private Cemetery company that sought to alleviate a Brighton problem which was also a national one – Churchyards were bursting at the seams and were fast becoming a health hazard. Kensal Green, West Norwood, Highgate, Brompton, Abney Park and Tower Hamlets opened to alleviate the problem in the Capital.
Sir Ignatius Valentin Chirol
Not too far away is the Swedish Poet Eric Stenbock, whose character is typified by his eccentricity. He kept all manner of creatures in his bedroom – Snakes, Toads, Salamanders – and his travelling companions were a dog, a Monkey and a life size doll which was referred to as ‘Le Petit Comte’ or ‘The Little Count’. He treated it like a son and would ask about its health if ever it was absent.
His death was stunning. A heavy Opium addict and drinker, an inebriated argument he had with his stepfather Sir Francis Mowatt (who happened to be Permanent Secretary of the Treasury) ends with him brandishing a Poker, tripping over and killing himself on the Fireplace. His heart was buried in the Stenbock Vault in a Church in Kusal, Estonia – where he held an estate as the Count of Bogesund.
Although long since full and now joined by neighbouring Woodvale Cemetery where Sam and I spoke about the sad tale of Tom Highflyer and the marvellous Ginnett family tomb, do take a look at this atmospheric beauty. More fantastic characters await to be rediscovered – and that’s what this blog is all about.