musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Abney Park Cemetery

In my quest to photograph as many of the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries in London I visited Abney Park Trust Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Like Highgate and Nunhead this is a Victorian garden cemetery that became redundant when there was no more profit to be made. Entry is via a set of impressive gates with an Egyptian motif and faux hieroglyphics.
Unusually the sun was shining during my visit so these images are almost too bright to be real. As expected of a cemetery that has fallen on hard times, Abney Park has lots of “graves in the bush” but is really a mix of individual graves and general imagery.
There is also the almost obligatory chapel, although this particular one is not in too good a condition and has been fenced off. 
Again I ask the question, what did these cemeteries look like when they were in daily use? a chapel like this must have cost a pretty penny to erect, and it ends up abandoned? 
 
There is also a Commonwealth War Graves Cross of Sacrifice although I did not see many CWGC headstones. The CWGC lists there being 258 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and a further 113 of the 1939-1945 war. The cemetery also has a the grave of John Freeman VC  in it.  And, from what I read, there is a crypt underneath this memorial. 
 
The headstones are about what is to be expected in a cemetery from this era; a mixed bag of flat headstones, angels, columns and monoliths. There was only one small mausoleum, which wasn’t too ostentatious either.
 
 
If anything Abney Park is almost a “poorer” relative when compared to the grandeur of  Highgate West, but it does not detract from the beauty of this faded lady. Parts of it are almost interchangeable with Nunhead, Highgate, and Camberwell Old Cemetery.
There are the rich and famous here too, the most prominent being the founders of the Salvation Army; William and Catherine Booth. 
 
There is also the famous Bostock Lion, which is almost a twin of the Wombwell Lion in Highgate West. 
And of course a reminder that policing can be a very dangerous job. The headstone of Constable William Frederick Tyler, is replete with a replica of his uniform.
 
And, there is a sober reminder that not even civilians are safe during a war. A small memorial remembers locals that were killed during the bombing of London.
 
Abney Park is a pretty cemetery, it is nice to walk around, and was not drowning in mud, although I suspect it could be quite wet at times. The vegetation is controlled and it was an enjoyable morning. If anything I rate this cemetery over Brompton, possibly because it  was like visiting a long lost and tired relative.
According to my book, it was abandoned over 25 years ago and then purchased by the London Borough of Hackney. Today it is more of an urban forest and wildlife preserve, and long may it grace us with its presence.
 

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