London’s Secret Pet Cemetery
London has an endless supply of trivia and quirky hidden gems, but do you know about its secret pet cemetery?
The bad news is that it’s not open to the public (it’s run by The Royal Parks who occasionally run tours). The good news, however, is that you can glimpse the cemetery from Bayswater Road.
How did it start?
In 1881 the gatekeeper at Victoria Gate was a Mr Winbridge. He was friendly with some locals who often walked their dog, Cherry, around Hyde Park.
When Cherry died it seemed fitting to be buried here and the tiny tombstone reads; “Poor Cherry. Died April 28. 1881″.
The gatekeeper’s lodge as it appears today.
Word caught on and the cemetery became increasingly popular until it closed in 1903. Mr Winbridge gave up more and more of his garden, burying each unfortunate pet himself and today there are around 300 tiny tombs to be seen.
You’ll be pleased to hear, that even from Bayswater Road, you can peek through the hedge to spot some of the pet names and stories.
Here are some of my favourites;
Not all are sentimental tear jerkers though. Some are downright intriguing…
Son of Fritz.
Poisoned by a cruel Swiss.
Berne – 1899
And there’s endless fun to be found from Victorian names; “Lord Quex”, “Chin-Chin” and “Goofy”. All of which made me cheerfully imagine top hatted gentlemen calling across Hyde Park for his dear “Flocky”.
Photo from The Telegraph, credit: Helen PG-Soteriou
You can see more pictures from inside the cemetery from a Telegraph article from August 2015 here.