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Opened in 1837 and inspired by the Pere Lachaise in Paris, West Norwood became known as the Millionaire’s Cemetery. But within its opulent grounds there are twelve buried names whose currency is language: these are the dead poets of West Norwood.
In the first instalment of a project to map the Magnificent Seven, Chris McCabe takes us off the main track of London writing and asks why the works of Hopkins, Tennyson and Dickinson are still read above those buried in this suburban enclave of South London. Join McCabe on the hunt for a great lost poet, as he walks the winding Gothic paths of the Cemetery and makes an unexpected discovery underground in the catacombs. The stories of those loved and dismissed by Charles Dickens are carefully uncovered; those who influenced Lewis Carroll and Winston Churchill; and those whose burial in the common ground has not been enough to silence them.
The author and publisher gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery.