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Pet Cemetery in Hyde Park

29-March-2011
29-March-2011 0:00
in Curiosities
by Peter Berthoud

The little pet cemetery at Victoria Gate in Hyde Park, London, didn’t so much officially open in 1880 but rather it evolved from then, following one particular burial.

Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, was at the time not only Commander in Chief of the British Army  but also the Ranger of Hyde Park.

Prince George was a colourful Royal who had an invalid marriage with an actress, Louisa Fairbrother. When his wife (Mrs Fitzgeorge, as she was now known) lost her favourite dog, George used his position and instructed the gate-keeper a Mr.Windbridge, to give the dog a decent burial in the garden of his lodge. (The dog was also called Prince!)

The idea caught on in society circles and within 25 years, Mr.Windbridge's  garden had been almost completely filled with the graves of over 300 various upper class pets, dogs, cats, birds, and even a monkey.

Pet cemetery in Hyde Park London

A lack of space and changing tastes during  the First World War made the cemetery less fashionable. Only a tiny handful of burials have taken place there since 1915 the last being a regimental mascot in 1967.
 
The cemetery can only properly be viewed by appointment now but it is still possible to glimpse the little headstones and their inscriptions through the railings.

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