The architecturally magnificent Kilmorey Mausoleum will receive a £70,000 renovation thanks to Richmond Council.
The cast iron railings on the boundary walls at the Kilmorey Mausoleum will now be restored after Richmond Council approved funding for the renovation. The hidden gem which lies in St Margarets, Twickenham, was built in 1854 and has a distinctive pink and grey Egyptian style design which at the time cost 16s 9d (£30,000). The Environment Trust has also helped to maintain the gardens and will continue to do so.
The 2nd Earl of Kilmorey commissioned the mausoleum for his mistress, Priscilla, when she became ill with a terminal heart condition in 1851. Their relationship developed from his friendship with her parents Captain William Hoste and Lady Harriet Walpole. When Captain Hoste died, the Earl became a guardian of the children and in the early 1840s he eloped with Priscilla. A search was mounted but it appeared that they had fled abroad, without trace. After their return to England, their son, Charles, was born at Cross Deep House on July 19, 1844.
Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said:
“The Kilmorey Mausoleum is an intriguing piece of local history and one of the Borough’s hidden gems. I am delighted that the Council has allocated funding to restore the boundary walls and look forward to seeing the work completed.”
Michael Kaner, Director of Kaner Olette Architects, will design the restoration of the boundary walls. He added:
“The architect, Mr H.E. Kendall, designed the £30,000 mausoleum which has an Egyptian design is believed to have been derived from a place in a French book ‘Description de L’Egypte published in 1809. The shape of the building relates to the shrines at the heart of the Egyptian Temples.
“When Priscilla died in 1854, her coffin was inscribed with the words ‘the beloved of Francis Jack Earl of Kilmorey’. Inside the mausoleum, the Earl installed a marble relief carved in Rome by Lawrence MacDonald which showed Priscilla lying on her death bed, with the Earl at her feet and her son Charles by her side. Her burial was a private matter and years later Priscilla’s whereabouts were still a secret as the local newspaper at the time - The Middlesex Chronicle, reported that the mausoleum ‘contained the body of a dear friend.”
The Earl lived in five houses at various times in Twickenham throughout his life, including Gordon House, St Margarets House and, further towards Hampton, at Orleans House, Cross Deep and Radnor House.
The mausoleum, a fine final resting place for Francis and Priscilla, is occasionally accessible to the public and will be open for this year’s London Open House on Sunday 20 September, 1.00-5.00pm.