18 October 2012

Kensal Green Cemetery Revisited: London #35

The grave of Mary Scott Hogarth (1819–37), a girl much loved by her brother-in-law Charles Dickens. Dickens's hated mother-in-law Georgina is also buried here, as is his father-in-law, the music critic George Hogarth (1783–1870), who wrote for the Daily News and the Illustrated London News.
Terence (Mervyn) Rattigan (1911–79), author of such famous plays as French without Tears and Separate Tables, and the screenplays The Winslow Boy and The Browning Version, was cremated in Bermuda and his remains were deposited here.
George Grossmith (1847–1912) is most noted for writing Diary of a Nobody (1894) with his brother Weedon.
Jane Loudon (1807–58), née Webb, anonymously wrote an early science fiction novel called The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century (1827), which mentions air flight, telegraph, and a steam mower among other things. She met her husband through the novel, although he initially thought it was the work of a man. She later wrote books on gardening and botany and did editorial work.
Her husband John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843), a landscape gardener and horticultural writer, is buried next to her. The written works he was most noted for are Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1822) and the Gardener's Magazine, started in 1826.
Harriet Marian Stephen (1840–75), the youngest daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray and the first wife of Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), who was the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography and the father of Virginia Woolf (1882–1941).
Sir William Molesworth (1810–55), who edited Thomas Hobbes's Works (1839–45) and began the London Review.
John Leech (1817–64), a cartoonist most remembered for his contributions to Punch, but who also illustrated some of Dickens's work. A nineteenth century absurdist.
DIED 8TH. APRIL 1855, AGED 65'
Richardson invented the 'rock harmonium' which made music by striking pieces of Skiddaw slate. But only his son is buried here.
Émile Blondin was a tight-rope walker who first crossed the Niagara Falls in 1859, and followed this up by crossing them with different handicaps: blindfold, carrying a man, on stilts, and making an omelette in the middle. His real name was Jean-François Gravelet.
His wife Charlotte died in 1888.
John St John Long (1798–1834) was a successful quack specializing in the treatment of consumption, rheumatism and various other illnesses, and was convicted three times, and once acquitted, for the manslaughter of his patients. He wrote a book called A Critical Exposure of the Ignorance and Malpractice of Certain Practitioners in Their Theory and Treatment of Disease, although he wouldn't take his own medicine and died of consumption.
The Irish composer William Vincent Wallace (1812–65), who was also an enthusiastic traveller, and is said to have been 'nearly murdered by savages in New Zealand'.
I came upon this gem quite by chance, as I knew nothing about him. Below I copy his Wikipedia entry:

'Emidio Recchioni (1864-1933) was an Italian anarchist and businessman who was involved in a 1931 plot against the life of Benito Mussolini, the fascist leader of Italy.
Born in Ravenna in 1864, Recchioni came to England in 1899 after he was implicated in a plot against Francesco Crispi, a former Italian prime minister. He subsequently bought a delicatessen on the Old Crompton Road, named King Bomba, frequented by a variety of prominent writers and intellectuals, including George Orwell, Emma Goldman, Sylvia Pankhurst, as well as a number of Italian anti-Fascist exiles. As a political activist, he acquired a wide circle of friends, which allegedly included Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald himself.
Nonetheless, Recchioni was monitored by British intelligence services, who suspected him of providing money and weapons to a group of potential assassins based in Rome. The rumours that Recchioni was planning the death of Mussolini began in 1929, and were passed by Ovra, the Italian secret police, to Colonel Carter of the British Special Branch. On a trip to Brussels in 1931 Recchioni was followed by a Special Branch agent. While in the city he met Angelo Sbardellotto, an Italian anarchist, who is reported to have offered to go to Rome and kill Mussolini if he could get money and weapons. Recchioni is alleged to have offered to provide both.
Sbardellotto was later arrested in Italy, after several abortive assassination attempts, and found to be carrying two bombs and a revolver. A copy of his confession, detailing meetings in Brussels and Paris, was forwarded to Special Branch. It was also accompanied by a request for Recchioni's extradition.
While the Home Office was considering this, the matter was complicated still further when the Daily Telegraph named Recchioni as one of those involved in the assassination plots, quoting Italian 'sources'. He promptly began legal proceedings against the newspaper. The Telegraph appealed to Carter for information, but was told that there was none to give. It would seem that the whole matter was just too politically sensitive, with the potential to embarrass the government.
Reccchioni won his case, and was awarded £1117 in damages, a decent amount for the day. No further action was ever taken against him and he died in Paris in 1933. His son Vero Recchioni, who later called himself Vernon Richards, went on to become a noted editor of anarchist publications.

It remains unclear why British authorities declined to assist the Telegraph when there clearly was evidence implicating Recchioni. The details of the whole affair were kept secret for over sixty years, and were only released by the British Home Office in the early 2000s.'

As before, I owe much of the above information to the invaluable 107-page A4 guidebook available through the cemetery website: Paths of Glory or A Select Alphabetical and Biographical List, Illustrated with Line Drawings of Their Monuments, of Persons of Note Commemorated at the Cemetery of All Souls at Kensal Green (London: The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, 1997).


David Bingham said...

I'll add Recchioni to my list - I've never heard of him or noticed this monument. It's a great story. I'm up at Westbourne Grove tomorrow morning and should be able to sneak off for an hour or two to Kensal Green.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

He's quite close to the southern pathside of West Centre Avenue, although if he's to the west of Oxford or Cambridge Avenue I'm not certain – but I think it's either plot 164 or 151, probably 151. He's not in Paths of Glory.