Kensal Green Cemetery owners deny claims bodies will be dug up to make way for HS2

The engineer Sir Brunel's grave in Kensal Green Cemetary

The engineer Sir Brunel's grave in Kensal Green Cemetary - Credit: Archant

The owners of Kensal Green Cemetery have denied claims that bodies will be dug up to make way for HS2.

Grade 2 listed tomb at Kensal Green cemetery. This Egyptian-influenced tomb was designed in 1837 by

Grade 2 listed tomb at Kensal Green cemetery. This Egyptian-influenced tomb was designed in 1837 by George Danson for the first wife of impresario Andrew Ducrow, and is guarded by two sphinxes. Ducrow, an equestrian showman, died in 1842 and is buried there. Photo c. Mike Goldwater - Credit: Archant

Last week, reports claimed the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had obtained an exhumation licence to allow work for the High Speed Two line from London to Birmingham to take place on the site.

The cemetery is the final resting place for a number of historical figures including engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and writer Harold Pinter.

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was also cremated there.

A spokesman for the General Cemetery Company, owners of the site, denied the claims saying the licence obtained by the MoJ only allows them dig ‘an exploratory bore hole’ in a roadway within the cemetery.


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“The General Cemetery Company would like to make it clear that we have never and will never support any application to exhume anyone buried in Kensal Green Cemetery to make way for the HS2 tunnel and that those buried within the cemetery will continue to rest in peace, he said.

“This (claim) has led to widespread upset and anguish amongst bereaved families that their loved ones may be disturbed to make way for the tunnel.”

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He added while the ‘bore hole’ is within a consecrated part of the cemetery it was outside of the jurisdiction of the MoJ.

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