There are not that many cemeteries around the country that could be classified as tourist attractions, yet Brompton Cemetery is just that. There is something about the refined Gothic splendour of the place, the wonderful architecture and well thought out design that makes this a popular location for film makers to use. The gravestones here are Victorian showing off the elaborate designs which so define the era and make the perfect setting for not only period dramas but also thrillers and romantic comedies. If some of the buildings in the cemetery look familiar it could be because the chapel which is located on the Fulham Road side of the cemetery was used in the Bond film ‘Goldeneye’. Parts of the colonnades that sit above the catacombs were used in a scene from Johnny English the James Bond spoof starring Rowan Atkinson.
About Brompton Cemetery
Established in 1836 the West London and Westminster Cemetery Company opened the cemetery in 1840. Widely regarded by the London populous as one of the finest cemeteries not only in London, but anywhere in the country, it followed a formal layout, following the designs of Benjamin Baud. The chapel that is located at the end of the Grand Central Avenue is based upon the iconic St Peter’s Basilica in the city of Rome. As you walk along the shady paths that wind around the cemetery you will encounter some of the incredible 35,000 monuments that fill the cemetery grounds, many of which are not just beautiful or artists, some of them are also of great historical importance.
Brompton was one of the ‘new’ cemeteries that was built to cope with the demands of an increasing population in the city following the Battle of Waterloo. Of the seven that were built Brompton still remains one of the best examples of cemetery design. Although not originally called Brompton cemetery it was known locally as the West London and Westminster Cemetery by the local population.
Brompton on the Big Screen
Stars like Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant are among the big names that have filmed here over the past several decades. It has been the location for chilling thrillers such as ‘Afraid of the Dark’ and then equally successfully as the back drop to a romance in ‘SWALK’ which was the first feature film produced by the legendary David Puttnam. One of the Alex Rider novels ‘Stormbreaker’ used the cemetery as a film location in 2006, staying true to the description given in the book, where the funeral scenes were described as taking place in Brompton. This is a location that has a timeless appeal, it is a place that can be used again and again without fear of it being over used or cheapened in any way. Despite its attraction to film makers it is still a beautiful, peaceful and tranquil place to visit, and appreciate the grandeur of the past.
For anyone wishing to visit the cemetery it is open daily from 8:00am. Wander around this incredible place and see just how many different film locations you can recognise.