Bazalgette Mausoleum Project

Habitats & Heritage is raising funds to restore the Grade II listed mausoleum for Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the engineer of the London sewer system and to remove it from Historic England’s at risk register. The project will include an extensive education and outreach programme which will be aimed at the whole of London and the Thames basin. The project will aim to raise awareness to the scarceness of water resources, plastic pollution in water courses, promote STEM learning and ensure that many and diverse communities are reached.

  • Raised £0.00
  • Target £10,000.00

The Mausoleum

The mausoleum is located in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Wimbledon and contains Sir Joseph Bazalgette, his wife Maria, and five of their eleven children. The Portland Stone mausoleum features an obelisk, sitting above a vault, which is protected by heavy metal doors and contains space for 12 coffins, eight of which are occupied.

Unusually, the mausoleum was not built for the Bazalgette family. In fact, it was constructed 15 years before Sir Joseph Bazalgette was born, having been commissioned by John Anthony Rucker who died in 1804.  Rucker’s coffin occupies one of the nine spaces inside, and is the only person outside of the Bazalgette family to interred in the mausoleum.

Rucker was a banker and merchant who owned extensive slave plantations in Grenada, a former British colony in the West Indies. With no children of his own, he left most of his wealth to his nephew Daniel Henry Rucker, who inherited John Rucker’s estates and it is assumed the mausoleum.

We do not know how Sir Joseph Bazalgette came to purchase the eighty-year-old tomb, or indeed why he chose one already built for another family. We do know that the Bazalgette family lived locally and had a close relationship with the church – the graveyard of which, was already full when Charles Norman Bazalgette, Sir Joseph’s son, died. Descriptions of Rucker’s mausoleum suggest that Bazalgette heavily modified the structure, replacing a pyramid with a tall obelisk. The mausoleum signifies the resting place of two men whose work embodies the very best and worst of British history.

Illustration of the Bazalgette Mausoleum. S. Fielding

The Project

Habitats & Heritage is embarking on an extensive project to secure the future of this challenging mausoleum which is deteriorating. The vaulted roof has begun to collapse onto the crypt and the iron railings have broken away. Our project plans to restore the stonework, repair the brick vaulting, re-align the stairs, replicate the iron railing and gates and generally improve the surrounding of the structure.

Alongside the work to repair the structure, we plan to embark on an outreach and education programme which will aim to celebrate the work of Bazalgette, address the issues of plastic pollution in water courses

Follow this link to read a blog about the Bazalgette Mausoleum which delves deeper into the mystery.

All efforts will be made to restore the mausoleum. However, if for some reason this is not possible, the charity reserves the right to use donations for other charitable purposes unless stated by the donor.

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