The Magnificent 7

The Magnificent Seven is a commonly used term to refer to the 7 large cemeteries built in London in the first half of the 19th century. The aim was to clear the overcrowded urban burial grounds, such as parish churchyards, and take in the increasing amount of graves, due to the considerable growth of London’s population.

The Parliament then passed a bill to encourage the establishment of private cemeteries, mainly in the outskirts of London. And these were:

  • Kensal Green Cemetery, 1833
  • West Norwood Cemetery, 1837
  • Highgate Cemetery, 1839
  • Abney Park Cemetery, 1840
  • Nunhead Cemetery, 1840
  • Brompton Cemetery, 1840
  • Tower Hamlets Cemetery, 1841

This term was first used in 1981 by architectural historian Hugh Meller in reference to the London Victorian cemeteries. He and Brian Parsons are co-authors of the book London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer. They have recently published its fifth edition (2011).


There is also another book, only focused on the Magnificent Seven, writen by John Turpin and photographed by Derrick Knight.


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