As well as the major restoration of the Anglican Chapel, the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery are involved in the conservation of monuments throughout the cemetery.

Forthcoming services of rededication at restored monuments: photographer Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813-1875) on 3 November 2012; artist John William Waterhouse, 2013. Current campaigns: Blondin, né Jean-François Gravelet (1824-1897), tightrope walker; Frederick Albert Winsor (1763-1830), pioneer of gas lighting.

John McDouall Stuart
The Scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart (1815-1886) was the first colonist to cross Australia from south the north, on his sixth and final expedition, reaching the Indian Ocean on 25 July 1862. The Stuart Highway follows much the same route today, from Port Augusta to Darwin via Alice Springs. His monument was erected by his widowed sister, Mary Turnbull; the original obelisk was lost to bombing in World War II. Click here for a feature from the FOKGC Magazine.

John McDouall Stuart monument restored

John McDouall Stuart restored
On 25 July 2012, his Excellency John Duath, the Australian High Commissioner, led the tributes at the restoration of Stuart's monument in Sq. 15 the heart of the Dissenters' Section. The project was managed by the John McDouall Stuart Society on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia  (RGSSA), with the assistance of a Commemorating Eminent Australians grant, and the generous support of the Australian High Commission.

Chile coat of arms

Charles Wood Taylor
Charles Wood (1792-1856) was an artist from the Potteries who emigrated to the USA in 1817, and joined a scientific expedition to Latin America. He served the Chilean army of independence in the artillery and as a surveyor, while continuing his work as an artist. He designed the Chilean coat of arms adopted during the administration of President José Joaquín Prieto, which remains in use to this day. He is commemorated in the Spanish fashion with his mother's maiden name following his father's surname.

Charles Wood Taylor restored

Charles Wood Taylor monument restored
24 June 2011, his Excellency Tomas Müller, the Chilean Ambassador, unveiled a new plaque, by sculptor David Kelly, on the grave of Charles Wood Taylor, which was restored with the Embassy's generous support. Tributes were also paid by Charles Wood's descendants, and the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. The service was rededication was followed by a reception in the Dissenters' Chapel. The monument stands in Sq. 83, east of the southern section of Junction Avenue.

Symons plaque

George James Symons
George James Symons FRS (1838-1900) was one of the world’s most distinguished meteorologists. At the age of 22 he founded what became known as the British Rainfall Organization, and the system which still forms the backbone of rainfall observation and recording in the UK today. The Symons Gold Meda is the most prestigious award given by the British Meteorological Society.

Symons double grave

George James Symons family grave restored
On 15 July 2010, St. Swithin's Day, the British Meteorological Society met in fine weather at Kensal Green Cemetery for a reception and service of rededication at the restored double grave of George James Symons and his family in Sq. 130, north of the Anglican Chapel, with two new plaques donated by Honister Slate Mine, representing a particularly rainy corner of the Lake District.

Capel monument veiled

Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel
Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel GCB (1776- 1853) was signal lieutenant on HMS Vanguard, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of the Nile (1798), and carried news of that victory to London. He commanded the frigate HMS Phoebe at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), as one of Nelson's intimate 'band of brothers'. The ledger above his grave was the last of 33 monuments to be conserved by the 1805 Club to honour the captains who saw action at Trafalgar; it stands in Sq. 77, in the Inner Circle north of Centre Avenue.

Admiral Otway monument

Admiral Sir Robert Waller Otway
Admiral Sir Robert Waller Otway, Bt., GCB (1770-1846 was present to the 'Battle of the Glorious First of June', commanded HMS London at Copenhagen, and later supported the Brazilian War of Independence. In 2010, the 1805 Club restored the monuments to both commanders, with a toast in Nelson's Blood (spiced rum) and services of rededication on 10 July 2010. The Otway monument stands in Sq. 90 at the corner of the Circle and Junction Avenue.

Brunel monument under restoration

The Brunel family
The French émigré Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849) was a superb engineer who achieved significant innovations in tool-making and masterminded the first tunnel under water, beneath the Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe, designing much of the tunnelling equipment himself. His son Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) designed three remarkable steamships (Great Western 1837, Great Britain 1843, Great Eastern 1858), 25 railways (Great Western Railway 1833-41), over 120 railway bridges, eight piers and docks, and five suspension bridges (notably that over the Avon gorge at Clifton, Bristol, 1832-64).

Brunel monument restored

Brunel monument restored
In 2010, after a fund-raising campaign by the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, the Brunel monument was restored by Holden Conservation, with the support of English Heritage, The Royal Society and The Brunel Museum. Brunel' descendant Lord Gladwyn unveiled the restored monument, and Robert Hulse of the Brunel Museum led the tributes. The monument was designed by Sir Marc Brunel, in white marble with raised lettering; to protect this fragile surface, the face has been cleaned but not stripped of its patina. The monument stands in Sq. 41, on the grass path leading south from Centre Avenue.

Benoît Soyer, Emma Jones Soyer & François Simonau
The landmark monument opposite the Upper or Victoria Gate was rededicated on 30 March 2009, after restoration supported by a number of generous donors and match-funding from English Heritage. It commemorates Alexis Benoît Soyer (1809-1858), chef, restauranteur, food writer and campaigner; his wife, the painter Emma Jones Soyer (1813-1842), 'the English Murillo'; and her step-father, François Simonau (1783-1859), the ‘Flemish Murillo’. Emma died, aged 28, after a miscarriage induced by her terrible fear of thunderstorms. Click here to download the PDF of features on the Soyers and their monument from the FOKGC Magazine.

Soyer monument restored

Soyer & Simonau monument restored
The Grade II* Listed monument, sculpted by M. Puyenbroach, is surmounted by a figure of Hope. It was once gaslit, with Emma's palette and brushes displayed in a niche at the back. Moving addresses where given by FOKGC President, Dr. Jenny Freeman; the renowned chef Raymond Blanc OBE; Peter Urbach, archivist of the Reform Club; and Col. Peter McCall of the Defence Food Services School, Royal Logistics Corps. The monument stands dramatically in Sq. 80, opposite the Upper Gate (now rarely used) in the centre of the boundary wall, where it can be seen from the Harrow Road.

Frederick Davies GC

Frederick Davies GC
Fireman Frederick Davies (1913-1945) was posthumously awarded the George Cross -- the highest civilian award for bravery in the Commonwealth -- for attempting to rescue two schoolgirls, Avril and Jean Pike, from a fire in Craven Park Road, Harlesden, north west London, on 22 August 1945. He died of burns in hospital the next day; both girls also died. The London Fire Brigade Museum, on Southwark Bridge Road, now holds Davies’ George Cross; visits are by appointment only (0208 555 1200 ext. 39894, e-mail

Frederick Davies GC

Monument above the grave of Frederick Davies GC
Fireman Davies’ grave was restored with the permission of his daughter, Doreen, and rededicated on Saturday, 23 August 2008. The service was co-hosted by the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery and the Civil Defence Association, with the support of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, the Worshipful Company of Firefighters and the London Fire Brigade Museum. Click here to download the PDF of an article on Fireman Davies from the FOKGC Magazine. Fireman Davies is also commemorated on the UK National Firefighters Memorial near St Paul's Cathedral.

Catherine Hayes
Catherine Hayes (c1818-1862), the 'Swan of Erin', was an Irish-born soprano with a voice of rare beauty who excelled in the bel canto works of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. Born in Limerick (possibly as late as 1825), she rose from humble origins to become prima donna of La Scala and Covent Garden. She toured the world, singing for King Kamehameha II in Hawaii and miners in the California Gold Rush; her husband, William Bushnell, died in France in 1858, soon after their marriage.

Catherine Hayes monument restored

Catherine Hayes monument restored
In the first weeks of 2007, the grave and monument of soprano Catherine Hayes, 'The Irish Diva', were restored with the generous support of Limerick Civic Trust, and the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery.

Click here for an article about Catherine Hayes by her biographer, Basil Walsh. Click here to download the PDF of an article by Angus Lawrence of Nimbus Conservation, describing the project. Click here for the PDF of an article by Denis Leonard of Limerick Civic Trust.

Mulready monument under conservation

William Mulready RA
William Mulready RA (1786-1863) was a painter much admired for literary and rustic scenes (particularly Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield) as well as a prolific book illustrator (notably of William Godwin's Juvenile Library). He also designed the first pre-paid postage envelope; incised images of his paintings surround the base of his monument; a key to the frieze, by Head Guide Henry Vivian-Neal, identifies the works on which the reliefs are based.

William Mulready monument conserved
In the summer of 2007, the splendid monument of the painter William Mulready was conserved thanks to support from the Royal Academy, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the FOKGC. It was designed by Godfrey Sykes of the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), made by James Pulham & Son, and won an award at the Paris Exposition International in 1867.

A number of monuments have been erected or restored by societies and institutions in honour of their founders or subjects.

Smirnove monument 2012
Harry Clifton headstone
Bonnington ledger
The Revd James Smirnove, ?né Iakov Ivanovich Linitsky (1754/55-1840), for nearly 60 years the priest of the Russian Embassy in London; the monument was restored in 2012 by the Russian Embassy and Russian community in London.
'Handsome' Harry Clifton (1832-1872) was a popular music hall singer and song writer, best remembered for 'Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green'; his monuent was restored by the British Music Hall Society.
Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828), romantic painter, whose remains were moved from St James', Pentonville Road, to the family grave in 1837; there red granite slab was placed over the unmarked grave in 1999.
Howard Staunton (1810-1874), the champion for whom the standard modern chess set is named; memorial presented by The Staunton Society 1997, who alsoput a plaque on the grave of Alexander MacDonnell (1798-1835). John Propert MRCSE (1793-1867)
Founder of the Royal Benevolent Medical College (now Epsom College). The Royal Medical Foundation and Epsom College dedicated the new monument in 2001.

Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde (1821-1896)
'Speranza', Irish patriot and poet, and mother of Oscar Wilde; The monument was erected over her previously unmarked grave in 2000 by the Oscar Wilde Society.

Copyright © 2008 The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery • Registered Charity Nš 1106549