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Royal visits Kensal Green Cemetery to support preservation campaign

PUBLISHED: 17:30 30 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:30 30 October 2014

The Duke of Gloucester lent his support to the campaign

The Duke of Gloucester lent his support to the campaign

Archant

A member of the Royal Family paid a visit to Kensal Green Cemetery today to lend his support for a campaign to preserve historic structures at the site.

The Duke of Gloucester was shown different graves during his visit The Duke of Gloucester was shown different graves during his visit

HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, attended the special event, hosted by the Heritage of London Trust (HOLT), at the burial grounds in Harrow Road, Kensal Green, to highlight a bid to secure funding for the conservation of the area.

The Duke said: “I think anybody would enjoy walking along here to witness the feats of architecture that has gone in designing the graves and the great people who help build cities who lie behind them.

“Nature is quite a tease and naturally graves will get damaged. However, it would be an incredible shame if these structures aren’t preserved.”

Cemetery directors and the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery group have lobbied the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage for funding to help preserve historical monuments at the site.

The mammoth project, which involves repairs to the grade one listed Anglican Chapel and the boundary wall, is estimate to cost more than £10m.

One of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries in the borough, KGC is the resting place of members of the royal family, including HRH Prince George Duke of Cambridge, and scores of iconic figures in history including celebrated railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The family of the deceased are responsible for the maintenance of their graves but the cemetery directors are obliged to ensure that they remain safe for public viewing.

Damage to monuments can cost up to £250,000 to repair.

Diana Beattie, director of the HOLT, which has funded thousands of pounds for the upkeep of graves art the site, said: “There is a story behind every single tomb in this cemetery. There is an abundance of great people here who helped make Britain what it is today.

Adding that the trust would not be able to fund the repair works in its entirety, she continued: “It is important to maintain these structure so that future generations can appreciate them and see a visual icon of who came before them.”

Blondel Cluff, chair of London committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund told the Times that the body is considering the bid.

She continued: “It is a tremendous and important part of London’s heritage and part of the great seven cemetery in the capital. It is a great testament to art and also to the people who lie in them.

“There is a very robust friends group here I think the combination of the friends group and the cemetery company are capable of thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions to find funding.”

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