You could easily walk past Joseph Grimaldi park near Kings Cross and think nothing of it. Or you could walk past it and think, as I did, gah, what a dismal looking place. But me being me, I stopped to read the plaque, wherein I discovered that the park is named for the famous clown Grimaldi, who was buried here.
Grimaldi is the god-father of British clowns, and in his day he was incredibly famous and popular. I’d heard of him previously only in books – most likely from Dickens, who wrote Grimaldi’s biography after his death.
After the usefulness of the churchyard waned, it was demolished and the local council decided to memorialise its one famous resident. And so now we have Joseph Grimaldi park. A desolate, bleak, dry, odd place, trapped between daffodils and traffic, and lined with old gravestones. But also a place to laugh and to dance and to remember a time when clowns weren’t so creepy.