This time in Chelsea
Two weeks ago I started writing about my long and interesting walk in Chelsea, down the Kings Road, back to the stamping ground of my teenagerdom. I had a wonderful day, marred only for a while by the need to go to the loo. But that is the story for many females of a certain age, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Anyway I was wandering round the very inaptly named area of Worlds End when suddenly I saw an open doorlike gate with a lot of green space on the other side of it. It was drizzling a bit, but when I saw the magic words Moravian Chapel just outside I hoped it might be open so I could sit down and take some shelter. I climbed over the rather high lintel, saw there was nobody about, and began to look for the chapel. I felt a little strange as I was not at all sure this was not private property, at least for the first few minutes. All I could see was a square expanse of green, surrounded by three very old walls, in front of which were some ancient plane trees. I had to take my glasses off, so I did not at first notice the square stones laid out in a very orderly fashion, covering the whole of what I supposed was a lawn. There were four very ancient trees in the middle – which I later discovered to be fig trees – you can just about see the figs in the photo above, hanging on for dear life!
But at first I just wanted to find the chapel. I walked a few yards and noticed that the paved lane was made up of very old stones – obviously moved from elsewhere. But where?
The little building you can see on the right is in fact the chapel, though some of it seems to have been converted to an artists’ studio. Everything was closed, of course, so I walked all the way round the square, enjoying the solitude and the greenness and the age of everything.
This wall is just so full of history. I know that is a trite statement, but how else to put it? When I turned the corner, however, this time line struck me full in the face.
This colourful time line took over most of the wall opposite the chapel buildings.
This rather interesting composition was in the corner. Somehow it looked to me like a possible installation of Joseph Beuys, in its bleakness yet artificiality.
Some very old London planes.
And now you can see most of the cemetery. In the middle are the four ancient fig trees and rows and rows of gravestones, with very little information on them. Men and women separated. Lots of children, sadly.
Yet I found this to be a most comforting and peaceful place. I am looking forward to coming back here in more clement weather. I expect there will be more people then, but I had never noticed this place before, so maybe not many other people will know of it either. Shshsh – keep my secret.
The history of the place is very interesting too. If you click on this link it tells you quite a bit.
Which hidden places do you like?