Emanuel Swedenborg died exactly 240 years today. He had travelled to London for the last time in 1771 and lodged with a wig maker in Clerkenwell. He died on 29th March 1772, having, it is said, predicted the date of his death and paid his rent up to that date. Swedenborg’s remains were buried in the Swedish Church in Wapping, part of a large Swedish community centred around Wellclose Square (where Swedenborg first lodged as a young man). When the church was demolished in the early twentieth century Swedenborg’s body was brought to Sweden by warship and interred, with great ceremony, in Uppsala Cathedral where his sarcophagus can still be seen, nearby his cousin Carl Linnaeus and other illustrious Swedes. Thus Sweden came finally to honour one of its greatest sons and a man of immense importance in European culture.
The area where Swedenborg was first buried in Wapping remains preserved as a small park called ‘Swedenborg Gardens‘. The park is surrounded by a large housing estate, a modernist concrete jungle of high-rise blocks named after the Swedish capital and famous Swedish figures from history. Read more on the history of Wellclose Square and Swedenborg Gardens here.