Brompton Cemetery was designed by Benjamin Baud and has at its centre a modest domed chapel (in the style of the basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome) at it southern end, reached by long colonnades, and flanked by catacombs. The chapel is dated 1839. The site, previously market gardens, was bought from Lord Kensington and is 39 acres (160,000 m2) in area.
The cemetery is designed to give the feel of a large open air cathedral. It is rectangular in shape with the north end pointing to the northwest and the south end to the southeast. It has a central “nave” which runs from Old Brompton Road towards the central colonnade and chapel. Below the colonnades are catacombs which were originally conceived as a cheaper alternative burial to having a plot in the grounds of the cemetery.
Unfortunately, the catacombs were not a success and only about 500 of the many thousands of places in them were sold. There is also an entrance on the south side from the Fulham Road. The Metropolitan Interments Act 1850 gave the government powers to purchase commercial cemeteries. The shareholders of the cemetery were relieved to be able to sell their shares as the cost of building the cemetery had over run and they had seen little return on their investment.
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