A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
A TOMB WITH A VIEW
A Guided Tour of St. John-at-Hampstead Churchyard with Dr Roger Bowdler
Saturday 29th October 2022 at 11:00 am

London has a number of churchyards which retain their Georgian character and bring to mind the dead who lie below. Saint John-at-Hampstead has one of the best. On this guided walk, tomb historian Dr Richard Bowdler will examine the monuments and tombstones: looking at their design, symbolism, stones and stories.

Among the graves are those of John ‘Longitude’ Harrison (1693-1776), the renowned watchmaker and inventor of the chronometer, and the landscape painter John Constable (1775-1837). The separate parish burial ground, opened in 1812, contains numerous memorials to people of note ranging from actor Anton Walbrook (Colonel Blimp, The Red Shoes) via Labour Party leader Hugh Gaitskell, to actor, satirist and “Private Eye” owner Peter Cook. Together they form one of the best collections of outdoor memorials anywhere. Best of all, they contribute to a profoundly atmospheric graveyard, densely planted and teeming with tombs.

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Dr Roger Bowdler
Tomb historian Roger Bowdler did a PhD at Cambridge on macabre 17th century church monuments. Way back in the 90s he presented a piece on ‘The Sculpture of Fear’ for BBC2’s One Foot in the Past. His career has been in conservation, working for English Heritage/Historic England (where he was in charge of listing) and more recently as a partner in the firm of Montagu Evans. He has written short books on churchyards and war memorials, lots of articles, and is at work on a book about British Cemeteries from 1820.