Hanwell Cemetery, Kensington

Not to be confused with the other Hanwell Cemetery owned by Westminster Council, this is the Hanwell Cemetery on the north side of Uxbridge Road, owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

It's a beautiful little cemetery, set back from the road and reached via a long driveway, so the traffic noise from Uxbridge Road is almost inaudible. The planting is Hanwell's glory: the trees here are beautiful and well-looked after. On a sunny Easter Saturday, I was the only person there and felt as though I were in the middle of the countryside. If you're visiting, don't miss the shell-topped grave of Edgar Albert Smith, conchologist at the British Museum.

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Hanwell Cemetery, Westminster

One of the problems with tracking down cemeteries is that there tends not to be a standard name for many of them. Over the course of a century, the same cemetery can go by half a dozen different names. Less often, the same name can be used for more than one cemetery. And with this one, both those things are happening.

The cemetery owned by the City of Westminster, situated on the south side of Uxbridge Road, has been variously known as City of Westminster Cemetery, Mill Hill Cemetery (not to be confused with the Mill Hill Cemetery in Mill Hill) and Hanwell Cemetery (not to be confused with the other Hanwell Cemetery on the other side of Uxbridge Road, owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). Westminster are currently calling it Hanwell, so I am too.

As a large, old (opened in 1854) cemetery in a prosperous part of town, you'd expect some spectacular monuments, but sadly, Hanwell lacks many. There are angels in various poses and a few granite mausoleums, but mostly the cemetery is filled with arch-shaped stones and crosses. Worth a look for Jerrard's spectacular chapel, though, which is built on an entirely different scale to most cemetery chapels.

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Hendon Cemetery

Hendon Cemetery was opened by the Abney Park Cemetery Company, but is now run by Barnet Council, who are to be congratulated on their excellent maintenance of the site. Hendon lacks many very spectacular monuments, but it's still a beautiful cemetery, well-planted with trees and shrubs which give it the feel of a country churchyard. North London's varied cultures are well-represented, with a large Greek section which spills over amongst the Chinese graves lining the western end of the main path. Here I saw for the first time the Chinese custom of leaving oranges on graves, and - very much not for the first time - the English custom of celebrating the football allegiances of the dead. They are, it seems, mostly Arsenal supporters.

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Golders Green Crematorium

Golders Green isn't a cemetery. It's London's first crematorium, opened in 1902, and as such, has very few monuments. Those who are commemorated here mostly have small plaques attached to the walls of the cloisters, or more lately, to plants in the grounds. The grounds themselves are beautifully kept gardens which surround the central lawn on which ashes can be scattered.

It's worth a look for several features: the Philipson mausoleum by Lutyens, which is beautifully modern but oddly reminiscent of a municipal car park; Peagram's disturbing bronze "Into the Silent Land"; a temple-like war memorial with the names of service personnel cremated here; the names of some of the famous which can be spotted amongst the plaques.

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Hampstead Cemetery

Went back to Hampstead to catch the Bianci, and a couple of others I missed last week.

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