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Burnside Monument, Brompton Cemetery, Kensington and Chelsea

Description: Burnside Monument, Brompton Cemetery

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 December 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1403346

OS Grid Reference: TQ2554978027
OS Grid Coordinates: 525549, 178027
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4873, -0.1931

Locality: Kensington and Chelsea
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: SW10 9AQ

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Listing Text


Funerary monument to Burnside family, c.1943.

Reason for Listing

* Design interest: a large and prominent memorial in a striking neo-Byzantine style;
* Historic interest: commemorates a victim of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915;
* Group value: it is located within the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.


Allan and Iris Burnside were the grandchildren of the founder of Eaton's, once Canada's largest chain of department stores until financial difficulties in the 1970s led to their eventual takeover by Sears Canada in 1997, and closure in 2002. Iris Burnside died aboard the Lusitania when the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 7 May 1915. Her mother, Josephine, was also aboard but survived. Allan died in Paris in 1937. The memorial is believed to have been erected on Josephine's death in 1943.

Brompton Cemetery was one of the 'magnificent seven' privately-run burial grounds established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on London's overcrowded churchyards. It was laid out in 1839-1844 to designs by the architect Benjamin B Baud, who devised a classical landscape of axial drives and vistas with rond-points at the intersections marked by mausolea or ornamental planting, the latter devised by Isaac Finnemore with advice from J C Loudon. The main Ceremonial Way culminates in a dramatic architectural ensemble recalling Bernini's piazza in front of St Peter's in Rome, with flanking colonnades curving outwards to form a Great Circle, closed at its southern end in a domed Anglican chapel (the planned Catholic and Nonconformist chapels were omitted for financial reasons). The cemetery, never a commercial success, was compulsorily purchased by the General Board of Health in the early 1850s, and has remained in state ownership ever since.


MATERIALS: Grey granite.

A large memorial (approximately 1.2m wide by 1.5m high) set on a low plinth and a base with contiguous seats. The end blocks of the seats form the stops of the kerb of a ledger stone pavement to the front of the headstone; two of the slabs are inscribed 'ALLAN' and IRIS'. The headstone is carved in relief with a neo-Byzantine angel figure, its hands resting on a Latin cross. The plinth has deeply incised block capitals reading 'BURNSIDE' with the inscription on the base below commemorating Allan Eaton Meldrum Burnside (1898-1937) and his sister Margaret Allan Iris Burnside (1894-1915), children of Thomas David Meldrum Burnside (1835-1900) and Josephine Smith Eaton Burnside (1866-1943) and grandchildren of Timothy Eaton (1834-1907) and Margaret Eaton (née Beattie - 1841-1933) of Toronto, Canada.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.