“Joshua Compston ………was buried with all the fuss and shenanigans usually accorded a pharaoh or a brave and true conqueror of great panoramas of giant stuff. “Joshua’s funeral, it kind of looked a bit like one of the Kray twins funerals. It was a lot of people.” His coffin was painted with a William Morris pattern and bottles of wine were stashed by his body as crowds of people thronged the East End as Joshua made the journey from Factual Nonsense to his final resting place. “I found the funeral quite strange,” says Andrew Wilson. “I remember thinking, who are all these people? It was a sort of circus and it was, almost, dare I say it, one of the most successful events that he inspired in a sense, but he didn’t benefit from it at all.”
Compston’s tomb was designed and carved, from a 3 ton slab of Portland stone, by his friend the artist and cartoonist Zebedee Helm. On his website he says that it took him six months to produce; “The mauseleum (sic) can be seen at Kensal Green Cemetry (double sic) in West London, where it was said to be the most flamboyant addition in over a hundred years. Being a large cemetry (triple sic) it is however almost impossible to find.” The man may not be able to spell and may not know what a mausoleum is but the tomb is impressive and very much a worthy addition to the cemetery’s stock of idiosyncratic and eye catching monuments. It should be much better known than it is. Helm’s claim that it is hard to find is not true either – it lies on a path a short distance behind William Mulready’s grandiose neo-renaissance stone catafalque.