Barbe Maria Theresa Sangiorgi (1834-1893)
A handsome Italian boy endlessly strews flowers over Barbe’s grave.
Barbe’s elegant monument, in a prominent plot near the Central Avenue, was paid for by her doting second husband, Giovanni.
Barbe was born in Belgium, worked in Paris, and married a German chef called Auguste Kettner. They moved to London in 1867 and opened a small restaurant in Soho. It was only after Kettner died ten years later, and Barbe married young Giovanni Sangiorgi, that the restaurant became very successful. And it’s still going today.
It is poignant to note that Auguste is buried not far from Barbe in the cemetery. Giovanni, however, requested that his body be taken home to Italy.
Kettner’s was one of the first restaurants in London to serve French food, and it was rumoured that Auguste had once been chef to Napoleon III. Later on, it became one of Oscar Wilde’s favourite haunts, and was where Edward VII apparently courted his mistress Lily Langtree. Agatha Christie liked to dine there, and Bing Crosby sometimes performed.
The Kettners aren’t the only noted London restaurateurs in the cemetery. Charles Pinoli, buried beneath an angel in the Great Circle, ran Pinoli’s in Soho. This was a favourite dining place for magicians, who founded The Magic Circle organisation there in 1905. One of the Circle’s earliest members, renowned illusionist and inventor John Maskelyne, is also buried nearby.