Friday 19 June 2009

French food and the army

We're back in the Kensal Green Cemetary - without a doubt the most underplayed attraction in the local area
The Gurkha Grave is quite something - the range of archtiectural gems are just great - but there was also this incredible war memorial...
The wreath which was laid on the memorial had the card which read:
Laid on behalf of the Army
Catering Corps
and Royal Logistic Corps
Associations in recognition
of the improvement made
to military catering dering
and after the Crimean War
by Alexis Benoit Soyer
Dedicated on 30th March 2009 at the unveiling of the restored monument to her.
Now the shrewd and speedy amongst you will have noted the Alexis and the use of 'her' - let me try and work it out.
The tribute from the Army is to Alexis (him) and the monument is a tribute by Alexis to his wife Elizabeth Emma Soyer (nee Jones), who died in 1842 following complications suffered in a premature childbirth brought on by a thunderstorm.
On the inscription on the back she is referred to as Madame Soyer!

Thursday 18 June 2009

Hero's and Tragedies

This post relates directly to the charming gem that is Postman's Park in the City of London.

The park has amazing charm and is so peacefull and it draws on a Victorian Philanthropic tradition that feels like it has passed away in public institutions but still survives in human nature.

The Park is not in the local area nor any direct or indirect connection with Hampstead and Kilburn - bar there are four of the memorial plaques there that relate to 'locals'.

Henry Sisley of Kilburn
Aged 10 drowned in attempting to save his brother after he himself had just been rescued
May 24th 1878

Thomas Simpson
Died of exhaustion after saving many lives from the breaking ice at Highgate Ponds
Jan 25th 1885

Samuel Rabbeth
Medical Officer of the Royal Free Hospital who tried to save a child suffering from piphtheria at the cost of his own life
October 26th 1884

Edward Blake,
drowned whilst skating at Welsh Harp Waters Hendon in the attempt to rescue two unknown girls Feb 5th 1895

The Park is stunning and especially stunning given the small size of it.'s_Park

More recently and brilliantly ( a great piece of modernity building on a historic legacy) a new plaque was added in 2007

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Victorian fervour on Carlton Vale

I thought I had featured this little gem but looking back over the blog it seems I haven't.

It's West Kilburn Baptist Church and is located on Carlton Vale - right at the outer reaches of the local patch.

The church is a great piece of confident mid Victorian religious architecture dating to 1865. Solid, gothic (but not dark) it retains the proseletysing characteristics that saw it set up. The accepted version is that it grew up and drew it's congregation from the many people located nearby working on the railway developments in the local area.

I managed to get inside the other month when out and about with Cllr Anthony Dunn and the original features are still there in full glory.

The Foundation Stone was laid on 23 March 1865. As was building tradition - dating back centuries - coins of the Realm bearing the portrait of the then-current monarch Queen Victoria - one shilling, one sixpence, one halfpenny - were laid with the foundations along with the text, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

A Poster announcing the opening of the New Baptist Chapel dates this precisely to 3 August 1865. The church record show that the costs were high and reached £1,250.

Anthony and I were lucky enough to speak with the Pastor Peter Law and he has his own website here:

Catching up here at the back

It's been a tad busy and the blog has slipped a week or two

Normal service is now resuming so please return dear reader - but in the mean-time, thanks for your patience


Wednesday 3 June 2009

The Film, the General and the Irish...

Back on the Kilburn High Road we have the Sir Colin Campbell Pub.

It has a rich social heritage as a pub and a real tradition as an old local boozer.

There's a bit of bad feeling that there's no hanging sign outside and some attribute that to that fact that Sir Colin was an English soldier and not hanging it is a small anti-english gesture... I'm not sure either way and haven't had chance to ask.

But I have only just stumbled on this

It's a film that essentially is based in and around the Campbell

The interesting thing is the extent to which the film captures the atmosphere of the Irish tradition and the way in which the High Road has moved on in the 9 years since it was filmed.

I'm enjoying the DVD and would recommend it to all those who love Kilburn... There's a good review here if you scroll down