Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of busy Knightsbridge is this large open churchyard that’s an oasis of calm. The space owes its origins to when all around here was still fields, but local villages and growing city next door needed a new church to cater for the population.

A very large plot of land was bought in the 1820s for both church and graveyard, and the church opened in 1829. They later sold the land facing Brompton Road, which now houses the imposing Brompton Oratory, and effectively hid Brompton Church from view.

The graveyard though, which is now a large park was far larger than might be expected for a modest church, and they were probably insuring against future demand by buying lots of land while they could.

Of course, it wasn’t too many years later that burials in central London were banned, and the graveyard fell out of use.

The graveyard has been encroached since the turn of the 19th century though, with car parking appearing next to the church, and what was a small school in the corner until WW2 destroyed it, then for a while given over to a large tennis court is now a row of houses.

The main entrance to the space is at the north, through a red stone entrance that is covered in warning signs not to bring dogs into the gardens.

The row of trees running through the middle is largely original to the layout though, with the straight path unchanged. It’s a simple garden, mostly grass and lined with seating around the edge, but benefits from being totally hidden from the main roads so very peaceful and calm.

The area to the north of the pocket park is a very rich cluster of mews and houses with a lot of pretty little lanes to explore, and largely sealed off from the south side by walls — one of which had a hole left in it following WW2 repairs.

The church itself is today better known for the birth of the happy-clappy rock music-loving Alpha Course, which has gained a considerable following in just a few decades, and names the current Archbishop of Canterbury as a fan.

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One comment
  1. Edward says:

    Yes, it’s a mostly unknown oasis, hidden from view.
    But it’s worth noting that the plot of land on which the Brompton Oratory now stands was divided from the Holy Trinity site in 1749 before either site had a church on it; the Holy Trinity site was a graveyard for St Georges’s Hospital from then until the church was built.
    The Brompton Oratory site was first a chandlery and then a boys’ school.

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