Doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ but on a sunny morning quite romantic none the less…
Brompton Cemetery, What an amazing place, wonderful walkway, bluebells, beautiful architecture and interesting gravestones.
Discovered the grave of a Tom Foy (1879 – 7 August 1917) an English music hall performer and comedian, who was born in Manchester of Irish parents.
Looked him up as one does and discovered he served an apprenticeship as a sign painter. Later he became bored and joined a circus as a scenery artist and also performed as a clown.
How enterprising is that! At about 7 or 8 my sister and I had dreams of joining a circus and my father even put up a tightrope in the attic bedroom where we could practice, needless to say we fell off a lot!
But Tom was made of sterner stuff, He joined a Wild West show before heading to London and becoming a famous comedian and pantomime performer. He was famous for sketches as ‘Tom Foy and his Donkey’.
On 23 July 1917, whilst on stage at the Argyle Theatre in Birkenhead, he collapsed. He died two weeks later at the age of 38. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery on the east side of the main central path, not far from the main north entrance. What a life!
I love looking at old gravestones. I used to live in Highgate and went on guided tours round the old overgrown section of the cemetery to find various graves including that of Elizabeth Siddal. She was Rossetti’s model and muse and at her burial in Highgate Cemetery he placed a book of his unfinished poems under her hair next to her cheek.
Unfortunately, in 1869 he decided that he needed his poems back, so Siddal was disinterred, with a notorious art dealer called Charles Howell as witness. When the coffin was opened Howell claimed that she was perfectly preserved and her hair had continued to grow, the curls filling the wooden box, as red as ever, glinting in the moonlight.
I was once taken to a more modest part of the cemetery where my great grandmother is buried. It is near the disused gate in Chester Road down the road from where we lived. No headstone even 40 or more years ago, but my mother knew exactly where she was as she had regularly placed a posy of flowers in her memory as a child.
Brompton Cemetery is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is managed by the Royal Parks, and is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries. We will go back again but with much more time.
Breakfast at Troubadour in their secret garden!
Small print – Regular readers may have noticed I have not blogged as regularly for some months. As well as being busy have had worrying problems with my vision! Turned out to be side effect of drugs I have to take – nothing to do with glasses etc. Moral of this tale is read the leaflet in the pill packet very carefully!
I enjoyed reading this. Thank you, Ann. What interesting stories behind those names.