Saturday 26 February 2011

Sole Survivor!

The forlorn expression on the face of this child statue might have something to do with it being the sole survivor of an extreme case of vandalism and neglect in a northern Cemetery. Over the past few months, I have been researching the whole sorry case and will reveal my findings here shortly. I was shocked by what had happened. I know you will be, too!

Saturday 19 February 2011

Who Will Remember Them?

As I go round cemeteries in England, it is starting to dawn on me just how many headstones have decayed to the point where the deceased is about to become unknown. I know willing bands of volunteers have been visiting cemeteries for years to record the monumental inscriptions before it is too late. But, they can't get everywhere! Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Hurst Green Cemetery 2011

Locksbrook Cemetery Bath 2010

Chorley Cemetery 2011

Wednesday 16 February 2011

American Headstone

A recent aquisition from America was a glass plate negative of a grave in an unknown cemetery. I estimate it to date from about 1900 and made a scan from it this evening. The name John E. Gibbs can clearly be read on the headstone which looks brand new. A sign to the left of the stone has the letters NB above VFA on it. Perhaps that means something to North American students of funerary architecture? Fascinatingly, a small plaque to the right reads 'Perpetual Care'. I wonder if the headstone has been crafted from Vermont Marble? I am intrigued by the white stone borders which seem to separate the plots as far as the eye can see. Comments are most welcome! Click twice on the image for a close up look!

Sunday 13 February 2011

Floral tributes

This view of a cemetery (sadly unidentified) is a scan of a recently acquired glass plate negative. Fresh flowers identify a recent interment. By the age of the headstone, it is likely that the long departed occupant has been joined by his or her partner. What surprises me is the fact the leftover earth is heaped on the cemetery pathway. I presume it was covered with artificial grass for the reburial ceremony, but it must have proved a real obstacle for the mourners. Also, the grass on the grave nearest the camera looks well trimmed. The name plaque faces the path and I am further confused as the foot of most graves start closest to a path with the headstone furthest away.

If that is the case, then maybe the headstone connected with the reburial is out of shot awaiting re-erection or is with a local stonemason. So, not as simple as I first thought! The words on the edge of the nearest grave, by the way, read: The angels of God met him. Any thoughts on the layout of the graves would be welcomed.

Friday 11 February 2011

Wooden Memorials

I don't often come across wooden memorials as I go round England's cemeteries. Last week, I came across two in Hurst Green, Lancashire - both to members of the Rawcliffe family.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Poundland Cemeteries - An Update

The Daily Mail has reported again on Poundland cemteries across Britain. The headline reads: "Modern face of mourning: The colourful 'poundland' shrines across Britain that councils are trying to wipe out."

This interesting article, by a well known columnist, is even more profusely illustrated and contains some striking images including a construction workers three (yes, three) giant graves and the growing custom of having life-size effigies of the deceased made for display on the grave! Quite frankly, I was amazed by some of the photos. Click HERE for more details. Again, your thoughts would be appreciated.

Below are selection of my own photographs which illustrate the contrast between the colourful spectacle and the decaying artefacts referred to by the columnist. The last two show a child's grave in Somerset and a nearby adult's. There are a lot of momentos, but they remain within the confines of the grave edges. For some reason I have yet to define, I always find the decaying teddy bears hardest to deal with. 

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Poundland Cemetery must go!

According to the Daily Mail, cold-hearted council bosses have ordered grieving relatives to remove graveside decorations, claiming a cemetery looks like Poundland. Devastated families in Colchester, Essex have been given a one-month deadline to clear up clutter from around graves at the town's cemetery. I was particularly amazed by the plot in the third photograph of the article which can be read HERE. What do you think?

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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