Visiting Speaker Research Seminar – 24th April

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Dear All,

Please see below for the next in our visiting speaker seminar series. Do join us for a drink afterwards, if you can.

24th April at 5pm – Dr Shelley Hales (Bristol) (Arts 104)

‘The Once and Future Dead: Remembering and Forgetting London’s Grand National Cemetery’


In 1834, Kensal Green became the first of the Magnificent Seven, the suburban cemeteries that ring London. London was finally following the example of other major cities such as Glasgow and Liverpool in establishing alternatives to crowded and insanitary urban churchyards. Many of the buildings in these early cemeteries followed a classical model, a tendency that could easily be passed off as inevitable given the prevailing architectural fashions of the time. However, we should also consider the extent to which they might also reflect a deeper imagined link between the state and material remnants of the recently dead and the classical past, comparisons prompted by the contemporaneous emergence of the suburban cemetery with the expansion of tourism and the development of archaeological sites, most obviously at Pompeii. In starting to explore how the material remains of the recent dead and lost civilisations were interlinked and how experiences of visiting them acted on each other, this paper focuses on two projects submitted to the competition for the Grand National Cemetery, a proposed but never realized cemetery for the whole of London. Although these projects only exist in imagined descriptions and images, their proposed configurations and responses to them tell us a lot not only about changing funerary culture but also about the allure of the ancient and its place in the nineteenth-century world.

Zoom link for those who can’t join in person:

Meeting ID: 854 9259 2007

Passcode: 355416