A wonderfully flamboyant Egyptian concoction with sloping sides, eared pediments, sphinxes, a winged orb, and much low relief sculpture including a scene of Pegasus and a mourning woman surrounded by clouds. Placed on the ground within the railed enclosure is a carving of the horseman’s hat and gloves lying at the base of a broken column.
Grade II* (England and Wales)
The mausoleum was built during the lifetime of Andrew Ducrow (1793-1842) the greatest circus performer of the nineteenth century. Often called the ‘Colossus of Equestrians’, he was famous for his spectacular animal shows and lavishly staged melodramas. He must have thought the title deserved for the words on his mausoleum are: “This tomb was erected by genius for the reception of its own remains”. It was designed by George Danson (1799-1881) and the mason was John Cusworth.
Unfortunately, Ducrow’s health broke down in 1841 and he spent some time in Peckham Asylum, dying shortly after his release. His funeral was one of the largest London had ever seen, and his horses were led in procession through the streets, though sadly his favourite, ‘John Lump’, died while the arrangements were being made.
Fair. This mausoleum needs attention; parts of the inscription are falling away and there are plants growing on the roof (2002).
Dictionary of National Biography;
Arthur Hartley Saxon: The Life and Art of Andrew Ducrow and the Romantic Age of the English Circus (1978);
Friends of Kensal Green, Paths of Glory (1997) 37;
J S Curl, The Victorian Celebration of Death, 62;
Builder, 14 (1856) 700.
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