Mausoleum, of limestone ashlar; 1910 by W Richardson & Co.
Reason for Listing
The Cory-Wright mausoleum is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: an unusually elaborate turn-of-the-century mausoleum of high architectural quality, retaining its original decorative bronze doors, stained glass and marble sarcophagi;
* Historical: commemorates a prominent late-Victorian and Edwardian businessman and local dignitary with strong connections to Highgate;
*Setting: it is located within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.
Cory Francis Wright, later Sir Cory Francis Cory-Wright (1839-1909) was a wealthy London coal-merchant and public figure. He made his career in the firm of William Cory & Son, one of London's largest coal importers (its successor, Cory Environmental, still trades today as a waste disposal company). In 1888 he assumed the directorship, adopting the additional surname of Cory. Cory-Wright lived for much of his life in the Highgate area, latterly at Caen Wood Towers - now Athlone House - on Highgate Hill, and was noted for his involvement in local affairs, serving as Chairman of the Hornsey Local Board and as an Alderman (and later High Sheriff) of the County of Middlesex. He campaigned for the preservation of Queen's Wood, Highgate as a public amenity, and was one of the principal donors to the campaign to secure Alexandra Palace and its grounds as a public park. He was created Baronet in 1903.
Highgate Cemetery was the third of London's 'magnificent seven' burial grounds, a ring of suburban cemeteries established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. It was the creation of the London Cemetery Company, a joint-stock company founded by the architect and engineer Stephen Geary and formally instituted by Act of Parliament in 1836. A seventeen-acre site on Highgate Hill was laid out as a picturesque garden cemetery with a network of serpentine drives, culminating in a monumental catacomb complex at the top of the hill. Geary himself supplied the initial plans, with assistance from the architect JB Bunning and from the landscape gardener David Ramsay. The cemetery, opened in 1839 and extended to the east of Swain's Lane in 1854, enjoyed great popularity and prestige during the second half of the C19 (famous occupants include George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl Marx), but lack of money and maintenance led to a severe decline during the C20. Since 1975 it has been run on a charitable basis by the present Friends group.
The mausoleum is a rectangular stone structure set into the slope overlooking the Egyptian Avenue. Large ashlar blocks form a smooth base and a rusticated superstructure with alternate courses vermiculated. The roof is of stone slabs set behind kneelered end gables. The entrance is on the uphill (NW) side, flanked by dwarf walls: an arched doorway with a moulded surround is surmounted by an enormous keystone bearing a scrolled cartouche. The doors are of bronze (or bronzed iron) with baluster and rosette openwork designs, and bear a plaque marked ' W Richardson & Co., Brownlow Street, Holborn W.C.'. In the rear gable is a quatrefoil traceried window. The interior has a mosaic floor and a single transverse ceiling rib. The quatrefoil window contains flame-coloured stained glass and is surrounded by a text from Deuteronomy 33:27: 'The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.' White marble sarcophagi line the walls, two on each side; these are embellished with multiple Gothic canopies containing pink marble inscription tablets which commemorate Sir Cory Francis Cory-Wright, his wife and children. Small marble caskets set atop the sarcophagi and on a shelf on the rear wall commemorate other family members.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.