When Is A Wall Not A Wall?

It has been over 3 years since the Kensal Green Cemetery wall came down. Why is it still in the current state?
Steve Graham writes.  

WALL – Noun
A continuous vertical brick or stone structure that enclosed or divides an area of land.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but a perilous, teetering structure, flanking a gaping hole surrounded by piles of rubble and half strewed bricks, blanketed by rusted scaffold and wire caging does not make a wall?

I know, I’ve been to some proper walls, the Waling Wall, Hadrian’s Wall, even that dirty great big one in China and they all have something in common. What is it now? Oh yeah – they’re still standing! So why – can anyone tell me? – is Kensal Green Cemetery Wall lying in such a sorry state of repair that it looks like Berlin after that big night out? I mean even Arsenal’s defence can manage a better wall!
Now, I’ve only lived in Kensal Green for three years, but the that half collapsed pile of rubble, and the remaining walls that would give the Leaning Tower of Pizza a good run for it’s money seemed to have been in that dilapidated state for a decade. 

I mean, I like cemeteries as much as the next person. The beautiful, marbled monuments, the carved gothic gargoyles, the hand-hewn headstones but I don’t fancy ending up under one every time I head down to the pub. Perhaps that’s the cemeteries plan? We’re a bit short on custom, so let’s have a dirty great big wobbling wall, liable to collapse on anyone passing by. We can have a quick wake down the Mason’s Arms and bingo, another one in the hole!
And what is reason for the dilapidated state of this well-lauded and historic site? 

There have been several theories:

The wall got that way because people were leaning on it whist waiting at the bus stop: Interesting, but unlikely, unless Hadrig, Giant Haystacks and Geoff Capes were all catching the Number 18 on the same day.

The wall got that way because it was hit by the freak Kensal Green tornado in December 2007. Not bad, except the wall was already collapsed before that date and we all know the story of the big bad wolf trying to blow down the pig’s brick house.

The wall got that way because the undead are really pissed off that people can see their night time, Michael Jackson dance parties from the bus. My personal favourite and probably just about as likely as the first two.
However, is seems, all is not lost. Having perused the planning permissions of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea ‘Planning Decisions’ documents, it would seem that planning permission has finally been granted to re-build the wall as of January this year (see the link below), the only issue is that it has to be done within the next three years. 

So the notable residents of the cemetery: William Makepeace Thackeray; Anthony Trollope; Baden Powell; Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the famous tightrope walker ‘The Great Blondin’ may have to wait a little longer before their back garden wall is restored to it’s former glory.
So we can only hope that the General Cemetery Company get their act together and start the work and hope they are not hanging out for a sponsorship deal from Lego.

So when is a wall not a wall? Answer: When it’s a grave mistake.

Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, London W10 4RA

Telephone 020 8960 9744 


Steve Graham: February 2010
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