Author trapped in Kilburn cemetery as autumn closing times change

Author Andrew Lycett at a reading of his book about Wilkie Collins at Primrose Hill Library 14.10.13

Author Andrew Lycett at a reading of his book about Wilkie Collins at Primrose Hill Library in 2013 - Credit: Polly Hancock

An author was trapped inside a Kilburn cemetery at the weekend after not being informed of a change in closing times. 

Biographer Andrew Lycett found himself stuck inside Brent’s Paddington Old Cemetery after going for an evening walk on Saturday (October 2). 

He got caught in “20 minutes [of] pouring rain” before being let out after a fellow walker managed to get through to someone on the outside. 

The closing times for the cemetery in Willesden Lane changed from 7pm to 5pm at the start of October but Andrew said nobody from the council came round to tell those still inside who might be unaware. 

He acknowledged this is something he could have noticed but suggested Brent Council was not particularly helpful in the circumstances.

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Andrew tweeted: “Locked inside Paddington Cemetery this pm. Taking walk, unaware closing time changed end September from 7pm to 5pm. 

“Usually someone goes road to signal closing. Not today. Gates clamped. 2 others also taken unawares. Eventually released. Hardly user friendly, Brent Council.”

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He said he tried to call the council to resolve the situation but was unsuccessful, while there was little chance of him climbing over the main gates which are “spiked and at least 12 feet tall”. 

Andrew said there should be a better system of communicating with the council if people do end up trapped in the cemetery unintentionally. 

The Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery said it would feed back to the council that any changes to closing times should be “better signalled in future”. 

It added there is a new person at the council who is dealing with issues related to cemeteries in the borough. 

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear this gentleman got locked in at Paddington Cemetery.

"This cemetery has two signs up at the main gates that clearly show the closing times.

"From October 1, the closing time changed to 5.30pm.

“Our Parks Wardens are responsible for closing the gates, and they usually do a final patrol at the end of the day to let people know people the cemetery is closing.

“There is also an out-of-hours number displayed on the notice board for our contact centre who can alert the park wardens if required.”

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