Tag: Magnificent Seven

The Cross of Sacrifice

Visiting cemeteries looking for War Graves will mean that I will encounter the Cross of Sacrifice on a regular basis, and it is an easily recognisable and familiar object in many of the cemeteries that I visit. 
 
The first one I ever saw was at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, and this cemetery was really where my war grave photography started. I literally cut my teeth on war graves here, and while I have not been there in years I usually consider it a yardstick with which I compare other cemeteries to.
Cross of Sacrifice: West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg.

Cross of Sacrifice: West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg.

Designed in 1918 by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). It is present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves. The cross is an elongated Latin cross with Celtic dimensions whose shaft and crossarm are octagonal in shape and ranges in height from 18 to 24 feet (5.5 to 7.3 m). A bronze longsword, blade down, is affixed to the front of the cross (replaced in some cases by fibreglass replicas). It is usually mounted on an octagonal base.
Cross of Sacrifice: Brixton Cemetery, Johannesburg.

Cross of Sacrifice: Brixton Cemetery, Johannesburg.

Sadly the local vandals stole the sword from this cross as well as from the one in Brixton Cemetery, and this has been replaced. Sadly, when I first saw this Cross it was still in its vandalised state.  There are two crosses in Johannesburg, although there is no real dedicated war cemetery in the city. The closest war cemeteries are in Pretoria and of course my favourite is in Palmietkuil just outside Springs.
Cross of Sacrifice: Palmietkuil South War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Palmietkuil South War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Thaba Tswane New Military Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Thaba Tswane New Military Cemetery


Leaving South Africa I travelled east to Hong Kong where the Cross of Sacrifice stands at the bottom of the magnificent Sai Wan Military Cemetery.
 
Cross of Sacrifice: Sai Wan  Military Cemetery, Hong Kong

Cross of Sacrifice: Sai Wan Military Cemetery, Hong Kong


The Cross and headstones are of the white stone which is unlike the gray that we have in South Africa, and I would encounter that white stone when I moved to the United Kingdom.

In London there are a lot of these Monuments to our folly with warfare, and the first I encountered at Streatham Park Cemetery where it forms part of the war memorial. Unfortunately the weather on this day was gray and overcast, and at that point I did not really have a place where I could submit my images to any longer.

Cross of Sacrifice: Streatham Park Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Streatham Park Cemetery



The use of the Cross of Sacrifice as the centrepiece if the war memorial is quite a regular occurrence in the UK,
Cross of Sacrifice: Brockley/Motherwell Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Brockley/Motherwell Cemetery



The Cross of Sacrifice may also be found in four of the Magnificent Seven Victorian garden cemeteries in London.
Cross of Sacrifice:Highgate Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice:Highgate Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice:Abney Park Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice:Abney Park Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice: Kensall Green Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice: Kensall Green Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice:West Norwood Cemetery, London

Cross of Sacrifice:West Norwood Cemetery, London


Oddly enough not all of the Magnificent Seven have a Cross of Sacrifice, although one was erected in Chelsea near the station and forms part of the local war memorial. Brompton Cemetery is not too far from here.
Cross of Sacrifice: outside Chelsea Station, London

Cross of Sacrifice: outside Chelsea Station, London


Moving from London to Southampton brought new challenges and places to visit, and one of the first places I visited was Hollybrook Cemetery.  There are two Crosses of Sacrifice in Hollybrook. The first is at the memorial to those who lost their lives at sea.


Cross of Sacrifice: Memorial to the Missing. Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton

Cross of Sacrifice: Memorial to the Missing. Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton


And of course there is another Cross of Sacrifice at the World War Two plot in Hollybrook.
Cross of Sacrifice: World War Two Plot. Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton

Cross of Sacrifice: World War Two Plot. Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton


Southampton is also home to Netley Military Cemetery, and it too has a Cross of Sacrifice.
Cross of Sacrifice: Netley Military Cemetery, Southampton

Cross of Sacrifice: Netley Military Cemetery, Southampton


Southampton Old Cemetery has a number of military burials within its walls and I spent many hours hunting them down. I also attended a wreath laying at the cemetery in 2013, and this grand old cemetery has a special place in my affections as a result.
Cross of Sacrifice: Southampton Old Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Southampton Old Cemetery


I only visited Winchester briefly and managed a visit to West Hill Cemetery which had a Cross of Sacrifice as part of the memorial within the cemetery.
Cross of Sacrifice: West Hill Cemetery, Winchester.

Cross of Sacrifice: West Hill Cemetery, Winchester.


I lived in Salisbury for just over a year and there was a Cross of Sacrifice in the London Road Cemetery, but none in Devizes Road Cemetery, although both of them had war graves in them.
Cross of Sacrifice: London Road Cemetery, Salisbury

Cross of Sacrifice: London Road Cemetery, Salisbury


Strangely enough, St Lawrence Church in Stratford Sub Castle had a small war graves plot presided over by a small Cross of Sacrifice. The graves were mostly of Australians from World War One.
Cross of Sacrifice: St Lawrence Churchyard, Stratford Sub Castle, Salisbury

Cross of Sacrifice: St Lawrence Churchyard, Stratford Sub Castle, Salisbury


My biggest war grave photography session was in Gosport, at Haslar Royal Navy Cemetery, and it was interesting because most of the pre World War Two graves had a different headstone to the standard CWGC one, but there was still a Cross of Sacrifice as a reminder of where you were.
Cross of Sacrifice: Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport

Cross of Sacrifice: Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport


I spent some time in Basingstoke and found that Worting Road Cemetery had a small CWGC plot with a Cross of Sacrifice in it.
Cross of Sacrifice: Worting Road Cemetery, Basingstoke.

Cross of Sacrifice: Worting Road Cemetery, Basingstoke.


And while I was in Basingstoke I managed to visit the magnificent military cemetery at Brookwood. There are two large Crosses of Sacrifice in this cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice: Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice: Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice: Brookwood Military Cemetery.

I also visited the city of Bath which had a Cross incorporated into the town war memorial.

Cross of Sacrifice: Bath.

And the beautiful Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol has a Cross of Sacrifice at the “Sailors Corner”.

Cross of Sacrifice: Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol.

Cross of Sacrifice: Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol.


On a trip to Swindon I discovered a small Cross of Sacrifice in the Radnor Street Cemetery.
Cross of Sacrifice: Radnor Str Cemetery, Swindon

Cross of Sacrifice: Radnor Str Cemetery, Swindon


And on my visit to Reading I discovered the small Cross of Sacrifice in the local cemetery, keeping watch over the screen wall.
Cross of Sacrifice: Reading Cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice: Reading Cemetery.


After Leaving Basingstoke I travelled North and ended up in Staffordshire, there I visited Cannock Chase Military Cemetery.
Cross of Sacrifice: Cannock Chase Military Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice: Cannock Chase Military Cemetery


And I found another Cross of Sacrifice in Warstone Lane Cemetery in Birmingham.
Cross of Sacrifice: Warstone Lane Cemetery, Birmingham

Cross of Sacrifice: Warstone Lane Cemetery, Birmingham


and another in Ryecroft Cenetery in the town of Walsall.
Cross of Sacrifice: Ryecroft Cemetery, Walsall.

Cross of Sacrifice: Ryecroft Cemetery, Walsall.


I now live in Tewkesbury, and the first Cross of Sacrifice I have encountered around here is at the beautiful Prestbury Cemetery in Cheltenham.

The point I am making is that wherever there is a Cross of Sacrifice there is a reminder that many servicemen and women, as well as civilians and their families were lost in the two World Wars, and they remind us that we must never walk down that terrible path again, because who will be left to erect even more war memorials or Crosses of Sacrifice?

I am sure I have forgotten a few of the crosses that I have seen, as I wade through my pics I am bound to find more of them, and will continue to find them as I explore more around me. The Cross of Sacrifice is a simple yet effective memorial, but it is so tragic that we need something like this in the first place.

© DRW 2015-2018. Created  20/09/2015, images migrated 01/05/2016

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:25

West Norwood is complete (2)

Continuing where we left off,

 I had entered “Ship Path” and now found out where it got it’s name from:

There is just so much to like about this memorial, but then I am biased. Looking around me I spotted a mausoleum in the bushes” and went to investigate.

The area around this memorial is very different to many of the areas in the cemetery, Ship path is a well defined path and it passed through an area of heavy undergrowth on one side and sloping grass with graves on the other. Both hold their attractions, and the heavy undergrowth can have many beautiful memorials in it.  The mausoleum in the undergrowth above belongs to Christopher Pond who helped pioneer railway catering to the UK amongst other things.

Time was marching, and the clouds that had been quite sparse when I arrived were starting to arrive too, so I decided it was almost time to head off back to the station. I really wanted to be out of there by 14H00 so that I could get a train back home before rush hour. I had more or less seen most areas of the cemetery, but you never really get to see everything.

 
As for war graves, I had photographed what I saw, and will know how many I did get once I have sorted and labelled the images that I have. (it appears as if I missed 81 graves). A funeral had also  started to arrive, and I am happy that this place does see burials and cremations, it is a new lease on life for an oldie like this, and while it may just be a cemetery, it is really a history book for everybody to read if only they would take the time.

 


I will leave you with a small selection of images, but they cannot convey the beauty of this cemetery, and I am glad that I have seen it. But before we get there, some images of St Lukes Church which was quite interesting in itself. 

 
 
 
 
West Norwood Misc images.
 

Back to the first part of West Norwood.

© DRW 2015-2018. Created 21/01/2015, images migrated 22/04/2016

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 09:47

West Norwood is complete (1)

Today I finally did it. I visited West Norwood Cemetery in London, thereby completing the final cemetery of the 7 Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London. To say that I am chuffed would be an understatement, especially when I consider what a beaut this one turned out to be.
 
West Norwood station

West Norwood station

I was blessed  with a clear morning for my trip, although the frost lay heavily on the ground (which made for stunning images too). The trip was via Clapham Junction and then onwards to my destination. Clapham Junction is quite a place too,  but surprisingly easy to navigate if you know where you must be. Oh, and know which train to catch. The local I caught here was a Southern Trains local, and the trip to the station was quite a quick one. The walk to the cemetery was also a quickie, although I kind of got distracted along the way by a church (which also had a war memorial).  Still, I am glad I did not have a long walk because I really needed my energy for the cemetery (as well as a full complement of batteries). 

West Norwood Cemetery is on the right with the brown fence.

West Norwood Cemetery is on the right with the brown fence.

Immediately after entering the gate you come to the Cross of Sacrifice and the screen wall. There are 136 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and 52 of the 1939-1945 war here and an additional 18 cremations of the 1939-1945 war. There is 1 Belgian war burial. 
  
 I was not after any specific grave, in fact this was more of a touristy type trip, any CWGC grave that I saw I would photograph, but I was not there with a list and a predetermined route. 
The first breathtaker is very much the first thing you see when you enter the cemetery, and it is the Edmund Distrim Maddick Mausoleum of 1931. 
  
Spectacular is not the word I would use for this structure. It is truly magnificent, and what really makes it memorable is just how light and airy it was with its big windows and panels in the roof. There are a lot of mausoleums in West Norwood, and this was just the beginning! 
 
I could probably foam at the mouth about the mausoleums and statuary, I walked away from there with nearly 500 photographs, and I could show every one, and it could never really explain what this place was like. Like many of these Victorian cemeteries it was really an exercise in contrasts,  the rich and titled competing with soldiers, children, ordinary people and a host of vegetation, wildlife and stone. Parts are wild and overgrown, and others are pristine, like the avenue above. 
 
In parts it seemed almost empty, but I remembered that an empty space does not mean that there is no grave there, it can also mean there is just no headstone. I also believe that quite a few memorials were removed, which could explain some of the empty areas. Naturally I watched out for angels and statues, I cannot help it, they tend to draw your eye with their magnificent and often decaying splendour. And there were lots to see too, and some I had not seen before in other cemeteries, while others were like old friends. 
The Green Boy

The Green Boy

Kneeling Angel

Mother and child

Mother and child

Clutching

Clutching

The leaner

The leaner

The pointer

The pointer

  
Yes, I admit it, I am a sucker for a statue. Moving onwards I came to a very large area dominated by mausoleums, although I decided to not be lead into temptation and rather come back to it once I had done my circumnavigation. However, it was hard to walk past this area without looking.

 
Speaking of circles: what does West Norwood look like from above? I did not have a handy plan with me, but it is not really a very complicated layout. I am pretty sure I walked the while thing flat though.

There is a slight hill in the middle and the highest point is probably where the Crematorium is (the small building slightly off centre in the map).  The cemetery is home to a working crematorium and burials are still held here.  The cemetery was consecrated in December 1837 and has 164000 burials in 42000 plots.

 
The standard of maintenance was good, grass was trimmed,  paths were neat and generally the cemetery had a good feel about it. Parts of it are really wild though, at times almost impassable, but I had seen that in a number of the old London cemeteries and it is sometimes part of the ecology of the cemetery. I did get to see a fox on this visit, and I expect there is quite a lot of wildlife and birdlife here.
  
I could not help but think that in our urban jungle these cemeteries are really very valuable green spaces, and at times they may seem to be overgrown, but just maybe that is a good thing too, because it allows for populations of small animals to exist in our crowded world. I did see a feral cat running around, as well as the usual squirrels, and of course you could hear the woodpeckers and see the many birds that live amongst our dead. I also noticed bee hives in the cemetery, and tried my best to avoid those, but the idea that we can utilise spaces in this way is a very attractive use for a dynamic cemetery such as this. 
  
I was now in the area around the crematorium which used to be the site of the Dissenters chapel. Both chapels were badly damaged during the war, and the current building bears no real resemblance to the original. Its not an ugly building, its just not a pretty one.

 

There are two gems in the area of the crematorium, and they were both built by the architect Harold Peto, using terracotta. They are outstanding mausoleums, the one being for the Tate Family (of Tate and Lyle Sugar cube fame, as well as the Tate Gallery), and the other is for the Doulton Family. 
 
The Tate mausoleum was built in 1884, while the Doulton mausoleum dates from 1889. There is a similar one in Nunhead Cemetery too, and I managed to photograph it when I was there in 2013,  but it did not seem to be as well maintained as this pair. It was time to head back towards the exit and I walked along the road surrounded by all manner of headstone, it was really difficult to keep in a straight line because I kept on dashing off to photograph a grave. My shoes were sodden from the wet grass, and I was already getting flashing lights from my battery meter. 
  
The cemetery has two gates, and the one I came to now was not the one that I entered from, although from this one I could see St Luke’s Church which dominates the crest of the rise. It had an interesting war memorial which I would return to photograph on my way home, but it was realistically time for me to turn around and head towards that gathering of mausoleums that I had seen earlier. 
  
This area was fascinating because in 1842, a section of the cemetery was acquired by London’s Greek community for a Greek Orthodox cemetery, and was this soon filled with many fine monuments and large mausoleums. The images of the statues above marked “Kneeling Angel” and “Mother with child” is from of the tombs in this area.  Unfortunately a work crew were close by doing something mysterious with a grinder so I tried my best to look inconspicuous while in this area. 
 
There were a number of family vaults here that had a staircase leading down into them chamber underneath, and I was able to get a good look at the insides of one of them. We do not have this sort of thing back in South Africa, so my curiosity was piqued when I first found out about these vaults. Unfortunately though, the vandalism aspect for something like this is very high, and there was evidence that people were interfering with these resting places.
 

There is a large columned chapel building here too and I suspect it ties into this Greek Orthodox area. It is a beautiful building, but again I did not have answers to my questions. 

 
In this image you can see the entrance to one of the underground vaults in the bottom left hand corner. Unfortunately the door has been broken (or was removed) and parts of the interior seem to have fallen in. Leaving the Orthodox section I headed across to an area that had scaffolding on it, and I believe this may be where the catacombs are.
There wasn’t anything to see under the scaffolding, so I turned around and headed into the bushes behind the container. It was a good decision too when I look back on the pics I took.

This beaut is the Alexander Berens Mausoleum, and it is fantastic. Entrance is through the front, and next to it is a smaller mausoleum is that of Thomas de la Garde Grissell.

Slightly overwhelmed I found myself in an area that I had seen previously with the enticing name “Ship Path”. Being of a nautical bent myself I had to investigate it, and shall leave a tantalising clue on this page and will continue on the next page.   

 
 
© DRW 2015-2018.  created 20/01/2015 Images migrated 22/04/2016
Updated: 31/12/2017 — 09:48
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