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Monument to Sarah Sophia and Joseph Warren Zambra, Camden

Description: Monument to Sarah Sophia and Joseph Warren Zambra

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 December 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1403433

OS Grid Reference: TQ2840386960
OS Grid Coordinates: 528403, 186960
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5669, -0.1488

Locality: Camden
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: N6 6DU

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Listing Text


Sandstone headstone, footstone and cross slab with cast metal sculpture panel, c.1867

Reason for Listing

The Zambra family monument is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Artistic interest: an imposing, architecturally treated monument with good-quality relief sculpture of archetypically mid-Victorian character;
* Historic interest: commemorates a pioneering C19 photographer and scientific instrument maker;
*Setting: it is located within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.


Joseph Warren Zambra (1822-1897) was an Anglo-Italian photographer and maker of scientific instruments. Born in Saffron Walden, he was apprenticed to his father before coming to London and settling in the Anglo-Italian community around Leather Lane in Holborn. From 1850 he was in partnership with fellow-craftsman Henry Negretti; they were the sole British prizewinners in their category at the 1851 Great Exhibition, and went on to patent several key improvements in the design of barometers and thermometers, producing models capable of functioning under extremes of pressure and movement. Negretti and Zambra were appointed instrument makers to the Queen, Greenwich Observatory and the British Meteorological Society, and the firm became one of the biggest in London, with workshops in Hatton Garden and Cornhill and a retail outlet on Regent Street, as well as a specialist photographic equipment emporium at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham. Zambra's numerous photographs of the latter building are now among the iconic images of the structure.

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.


Tall, slightly tapering headstone crowned with a Doric frieze and a triangular pediment containing a wreath. Below this, a semicircular panel containing a metal plaque with a relief of angels carrying a soul to heaven, inscribed 'Visdaroni [?] 1867'. Main inscription reads: 'In affectionate remembrance of Sarah Sophia, wife of Joseph Warren Zambra of Tufnell Park, who died instantaneously from injuries caused by being thrown from a carriage at Arreton on the Isle of Wight on the 29th day of August 1867 aged 42 years... Joseph Warren Zambra, died at Walden, Fitzjohns Avenue Hampstead December 13th 1897 aged 75 years. Also of Sarah, second wife of the above, born July 14th 1823 died December 15th 1901.' Slab with plain cross. Shaped footstone with amorino (winged cherub's head) and garland carved in relief.

Source: English Heritage

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