Thursday, 24 October 2013

Stearns Mausoleum, Nunhead


The mausoleum was built for Mrs Laura Stearns of Twickenham who died in 1900. Her father, William Chillingworth, a wine merchant, is buried next to her in his own sepulchre. They were the owners of Radnor House in Twickenham, known locally as Pope’s Villa because it was built on the site of Alexander Pope’s original house, which still stands and is now an independent school. When Mrs Stearns died her solicitor placed an advert in the press asking for any person who thought they might have a claim on her estate to come forward from which I assume she had no surviving children. Apart from this I couldn’t find out much more about the family. 


"A small terracotta mausoleum built in the Romanesque style with crow-stepped gables and a ridged roof. What gives the building its charm, however, is the quality of the decorative detail; the arcaded parapets, moulded gargoyles, and intricate patterns round the arched openings of the windows and doorway and the capitals and shafts of the colonettes. This is the third mausoleum designed by the architectural firm of George and Peto (the other two, the Doulton and Tate mausolea are in West Norwood Cemetery) using moulded decorative detail made by the firm of Doulton in Lambeth. The interior was not completed to the original design, the glazed tiles being added by a builder some 20 years later. The coffin shelves to either side of the building may be seen through the wrought iron gates." 
  
The Mausolea and Monuments Trust: