Sunday, 30 August 2009

Woodgrange Park Cemetery

Woodgrange Park Cemetery

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Last week I spent some time in London, mainly to see my dad who celebrates his 94th birthday in a month's time, but I also made a few excursions into the past. One of them was a visit to a cemetery where my mother had her family grave.

Note I said "had" as it is very uncertain that it is still there. I took a few photos which can be seen here. These are the remains of something that was once a very large cemetery. It was originally opened in 1889 and I remember visiting the cemetery with my mother. The way to our family grave was even then crowded with other graves on the way. I remember stepping over graves and stones flat in the ground to arrive at our family grave. Although the path was complicated we always found the way.

Today part of the cemetery has made way for an apartment estate. There was no consideration taken for the graves when it was being built and and ground was strewn with human remains at the time. Now the apartment blocks are finished and it seems there are a few complaints from inhabitants that their homes are haunted. True or not true, but if my grandfather had to make way for a building estate, I am sure he would complain.

Half of the remaining cemetery has now made room for muslim graves. According to a conversation I had with the gate keeper of the cemetery, it seems the muslim graves were superimposed over the remains of some of the christian graves. Not that I suppose it matters, but a strange situation.

A walk around the cemetery was interesting although disappointing. I took photos of the graves that were still there. I do not know how they chose what to leave and what to destroy, but according to the inscriptions on the stones, it was a bit of this and a bit of that. Some from the 1930's and even a couple of newer graves from today. It seems that the graveyard is still being used and there is a plan to renovate everything.

So did I find my grave - no, that was impossible. Some of the ground was so overgrown you needed a machete to cut your way through. After returning home I called a telephone no. that the gatekeeper gave me to see what happened to our family grave (it did have six occupants, the last being my grandfather in 1960). The graveyard is now owned by a Limited Company. They bought the land and intend to do the developments. I still wonder what they want to develop. Anyhow I was informed that, yes, they could search for my family grave and whether I had the grave number. I did not have the number, but have contacted my cousin who might have it. Nevertheless, the search will cost me twenty-five english pounds whether I have the number or not, even if the grave no longer exists.

Somehow I do feel a bit cheated. The ground was bought by our family and everything paid for by ourselves. The photo on this blog is of one of the last remaining angels in the graveyard. I remember it being a treasure trove for statues and ornaments. I think I will have a pyramid made for myself when I go. At least they cannot remove that so easily.

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