Thursday, 2 April 2015

Kensal Green

A second night of being buffed by strong winds.  Our hope was the surrounding high rise buildings would provide some protection but instead they seemed to create a wind tunnel down the canal alignment.  Jan went off to do another big shop at Sainsbury’s whilst I checked the engine after yesterday’s service and then cleaned all the rubbish between the boat and bank.  It had been driven there by the wind.

A familiar boat passed shortly after lunch.  It was nb Chance heading towards London.  The two figures on the back were so well wrapped up it was hard to see if it was James & Doug. If they are going to Paddington for Easter we may see them tomorrow.

The area around Alperton is undergoing a considerable amount of urban redevelopment.  Light industry is being replaced by high rise residential apartments.  All the following buildings are located beside the canal.

Mid afternoon I decided to walk the towpath towards London.  This probably wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve recently made.  After spending several hours yesterday in the confined space of the garden shed attempting to avoid being burned by the noisy hot green thing today I have a sore back and head (killed a few more brain cells on the underside of the deck).  My calves and hamstrings are also seriously complaining about the prolonged crouching.  Apparently I’m not quite a young as I once was!

The first interesting feature on the walk was this old boat gauging station.  Tariffs would be paid on the weight of the cargo which was assessed by measuring how deep the boat sat in the water.

Now all of the above information about gauge stations is correct….. Except, as I got closer it became apparent this wasn’t a old gauge station.  It looked more like an old aqueduct with a central island?  What crest has three swords with a crown above?

I noticed wb Still Rockin asked that same question back in Nov 2014.  More searching on my part and I think I have the answer. They are the coat of arms of the former County of Middlesex.  As I reached the near end of the aqueduct I noticed what appeared to be expansion joints?

Two thoughts immediately came to mind. 1  Old canal bridges and aqueducts weren’t built with expansion joints.  2  I wonder how they make the expanding joint water tight?  Things became more apparent once I walked out onto the aqueduct.

The damned thing is almost new!  It’s the second aqueduct to be built on the site.  This one was constructed in 1993 although the brick plinths at either end supporting the coat of arms are from the original structure. 

{Paul B – the official name of the aqueduct is The Stonebridge Park Aqueduct but often referred to as the North Circular Road Aqueduct}

For the remainder of the walk the canal appeared relatively free of rubbish.  Looking back over my left shoulder I could see what at first appeared to be derelict waste ground, but then I realised it was a recycling plant for building demolition material.

Then I realised a rather well known landmark could be seen in the distance.

This would be that roof arch over Wembley Statium built by that large Australian construction company (Multiplex).

It was rather disappointing to see a number of clusters of tupperware boats on the offside.  None had mooring licenses and only half appeared to be displaying a CRT license.  They appear to be squatters and I sadly suspect will leave their rubbish behind when required to depart.

Eventually I reached my planned destination at Kensal Green.  This looks like a good area to moor.  It was certainly popular with boaters.

A nice low grass verge with a concrete edge.  High brick wall on the other side of the towpath (getting higher as I watched) blocking noise from that direction.  On the offside it was quiet as a grave.

Yes, it is Kensal Green Necropolis (cemetery).  The layout of the cemetery had caught my eye when examining the map.

It looks very similar in layout to Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, Australia.  Some research revealed there is a link.  Kensal Green was established in 1832 and based on the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  My research suggested Kendal Green cemetery no longer had room for burials but the crosses in the photo above suggest otherwise?  It covers approximately 72 acres and contains the remains of some 250,000 individuals in 65,000 graves.  Apparently a number of famous people are buried in the cemetery but I only recognised Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Rennie jnr (son of John Rennie canal builder).  I have been unable to establish whether the canal was used a s a means of transport to the cemetery.

Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney was based on the same design as Kensal Green and opened in 1879.  At the time it was located some 17 kilometres from Sydney on the new railway line to Parramatta.  A special siding was built and separate mortuary stations were constructed for the three sections.  A special mortuary siding station was also constructed near Central Station in Sydney.  This station can still be seen when arriving at Central Station from the west.  A twice daily service operated between Sydney and Rookwood stopping at a number of designated stations to load coffins into special carriages at the rear of the train and allow mourners to board at the front.  The rail service ceased in 1948.  In 1957 the main mortuary station at Rookwood was sold and moved to Canberra, ACT where it became All Saints Church.

Rookwood covers some 620 acres and is therefore significantly larger than Kensal Green.  It is estimated more than one million individuals have been interned in the cemetery.


Darren Cozens said...

Hope the paints still looking nice. Darren

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Darren,
I'm trying hard to maintain your high standard. If you are still at Aldermaston we might see you later this summer!

Neil Corbett said...

We had similar in this country, the London Necropolis Railway took the dead from Waterloo to Brookwood Cemetary when London cemeteries were getting full up. Mid 1800's I think.
Kath (nb Herbie)

nb Chuffed said...

Hi, we're catching up with the TV we recorded while on our last trip - last night it was Tim 'n Pru's trip to London. They were at Kensal Green and appeared to be able to moor on the offside and get into the cemetery through a little gate. Did you spot anything like that? We moored opposite last year but couldn't see anywhere.
Best wishes

Tom and Jan said...

We did NOT see any gate or access from the canal!

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Kathie
I wonder if the London train was dead on time? :-)

Mike Todd said...

I've tried to spot the gate with no success!

Tom and Jan said...

Mike, I don't think it exists!