Search

Constable's final resting place paints a sorry picture

PUBLISHED: 16:22 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 September 2010

Miguel Cullen CALLS have been made for urgent restoration work at the resting place of international figures including John Constable, Hugh Gaitskell, and George du Maurier. Many famous people from the arts, politics and science are buried in the graveyar

Miguel Cullen

CALLS have been made for urgent restoration work at the resting place of international figures including John Constable, Hugh Gaitskell, and George du Maurier.

Many famous people from the arts, politics and science are buried in the graveyard of St John-at-Hampstead.

But cracked headstones, waist-high nettles and creeping ivy are just some of the problems which have incensed local people. At one grave, a plant has even grown up through the stonework and forced open the lid of a tomb.

"Things have become slack," said Katherine Reed, administrator at the church. "Work is behind schedule but it should be looking better shortly. We have been working with Camden Council who are responsible for it and I blame them. We have had two meetings with them and have applied for a lottery grant and received it.

"Every fortnight in August we had meetings with Camden. We're going to continue this contact and make sure they keep up the work."

Juliette Sonabend from the Heath & Hampstead Society said: "The Society has been involved in discussing the situation of grants. There may also be an issue of certain protected plants. However, something has to be done - we don't want the fabric of the tombs to be compromised."

The tomb of John Constable is covered at the base in ivy, with the creepers climbing up the protective railings. The painter lived at 40 Well Walk for 10 years from 1827 until his death.

He is accompanied in the graveyard by a pantheon of other greats, including Peter Cook, the Hampstead satirist and writer described by Stephen Fry as 'the funniest man who ever drew breath', Kay Kendall, the actress and beauty who married Rex Harrison, John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer and George du Maurier, the brilliant cartoonist and grandfather of Daphne du Maurier.

Labour politician Hugh Gaitskell and writer Eleanor Farjeon were also laid to rest at St John's, which is the Hampstead parish church.

Paul Murphy, 68, of Pandora Road who regularly walks through the graveyard, said: "You get a lot of delinquents sitting about drinking on the benches in the church yard.

"I have seen local residents clearing it up. It would be good to see the place cared for a bit more."

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a 'Life and Death in Hampstead' grant of £324,990 for the churchyard in June 2007.

"The council is currently putting tenders together to create plans for the works on the churchyard. The plans are needed to get a church faculty - a licence from the church authorising work in a Church of England church or churchyard," she said.

"Camden has already spent £23,221 on the scheme so far, with a further amount of £30,000 being put into it. Volunteer labour from the local community will contribute £8,400 to the project.

"Further funding was recently secured and the change is in the process of being approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund."

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

14 minutes ago

Campaigners against the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel lorries through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Yesterday, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Yesterday, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Yesterday, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, 11:55

Passengers on the Barking to Gospel Oak line have become used to delays and disruption in recent times.

Wed, 17:58

A man has been convicted over the “senseless” stabbing of a Dutch man in Camden Lock in 2016.

Wed, 17:04

Camden Council will correct a sign that says a park will be closed every day at dusk, despite it having no way to shut it.

Wed, 13:01

A Cumbrian couple have been left scared for their property after receiving a bailiff’s letter demanding council tax for a Maida Vale property they have no connection to.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now