Today, Primrose Hill in north London is a park offering views of the city.
But in 1829, with a squeeze on burial space in the capital, architect Thomas Willson planned a pyramid mausoleum to hold up to five million bodies.
“It was supposed to be compact, hygienic and ornamental,” says Catharine Arnold, an expert on London’s dead. Willson, born in 1780 and trained at the Royal Academy, wanted the pyramid to be 94-storeys high and cover a site of 18 acres, (7000 sq m).
“Willson hoped people would come to admire this huge pyramid from far and wide, picnicking on Primrose Hill and enjoying this splendid monument. But it would be rather like a giant car-park of the dead,” says Arnold.
The pyramid-design caught the public’s mood for Egyptiana - the height of fashion at the time. Winding walks, similar to today’s Guggenheim Museum in New York, were planned to transport the bodies through the pyramid’s catacombs to their final resting places.
The tale of ‘London’s pyramid of death’ is by far the most interesting in BBC Magazine’s list of the landmark buildings that never were.