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Monument to the Revd John Frederick Blake, Kensal Green Cemetery, Kensington and Chelsea

Description: Monument to the Revd John Frederick Blake, Kensal Green Cemetery

Grade: II
Date Listed: 3 April 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1403610

OS Grid Reference: TQ2321882611
OS Grid Coordinates: 523218, 182611
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5290, -0.2251

Locality: Kensington and Chelsea
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: NW10 5BU

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Listing Text


Funerary monument in the form of a lighthouse, dated 1906.

Reason for Listing

The monument to the Revd John Frederick Blake is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: a highly distinctive monument, related in its form and materials to the career of the person commemorated;
* Historic interest: commemorates a prominent C19 geologist;
* Group value: with nearby listed monuments within the Grade I registered Kensal Green Cemetery.


The Revd John Frederick Blake (1839-1906) was a clergyman, scientist and geologist. Educated at Christ's Hospital and Caius College, Cambridge, he taught mathematics at St Peter's School, York and comparative anatomy at Charing Cross Hospital before becoming Professor of Natural Science at University College Nottingham in 1880. He published books and articles on zoology and geology and was president of the Geological Association in 1891-2; a number of geological terms in use today, most notably 'Pre-Cambrian', were originally his coinages.

The Cemetery of All Souls at Kensal Green was the earliest of the large privately-run cemeteries established on the fringes of London to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. Its founder George Frederick Carden intended it as an English counterpart to the great Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which he had visited in 1821. In 1830, with the financial backing of the banker Sir John Dean Paul, Carden established the General Cemetery Company, and two years later an Act of Parliament was obtained to develop a 55-acre site at Kensal Green, then among open fields to the west of the metropolis. An architectural competition was held, but the winning entry – a Gothic scheme by HE Kendall – fell foul of Sir John's classicising tastes, and the surveyor John Griffith of Finsbury was eventually employed both to lay out the grounds and to design the Greek Revival chapels, entrance arch and catacombs, built between 1834 and 1837. A sequence of royal burials, beginning in 1843 with that of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, ensured the cemetery’s popularity. It is still administered by the General Cemetery Company, assisted since 1989 by the Friends of Kensal Green.


A funerary monument in the form of a one-metre high model of a lighthouse, similar to the famous Eddystone Light off the coast of Cornwall. The tower is of polished Larvikite (a grey, granite-like igneous rock from Larvik in Norway) with a Carrara marble base carved into rugged rock formations. The upper balustrade is inscribed 'Jesus Light of Life'; the lantern above is of solid glass or crystal. The whole stands at the head of the grave-plot, which is marked out with stone copings and an open book carrying an inscription to Blake and other family members.

Source: English Heritage

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