On my way home on the 29th of March I detoured to Brixton Cemetery and took a quick ride through it. I did not have any real purpose, I just wanted to see it again.
Following the recent rains the cemetery is looking beautiful so this post is really just a photo essay.
There are a number of Angels from Brixton Cemetery in my Cemetery Angels pages on allatsea.
Left or right? Actually if you go straight you will encounter the Police Plot, left will take you to the one pedestrian gate and right will take you to the back of the Jewish Cemetery.
I took the path to the right because I was interested to see changes. Just before I left for the UK in 2013 a lot of gravestones in the Jewish section had been vandalised and since then it has been fenced off. This image was shot over the fence.
The area to the right is a small Salvation Army plot, and the heavily wooded area is where I had my first bee sting. Bees are really just one hazard that you face when you are exploring a cemetery. Brixton has vast swathes of fencing missing and this patch of road is one of the many thoroughfares that people use to get to the other side. I never felt safe in Brixton and tended to remain close to my car all of the time.
My mini tour was coming to an end and I needed to go home, it was interesting to see a place that is so familiar yet so unfamiliar at the same time. Cemeteries are in a constant state of change thanks to nature, and they are beautiful spaces in their own right.
The cemetery is over 100 years old, having been opened in 1912 when nearby Braamfontein started to get too full, and it was in use until West Park opened in February 1940. These places are a glimpse at Johannesburg’s past, and as such should be preserved for all to see, and to provide a green lung for the city.
My final image is of the Cross of Sacrifice that looks onto the entrance of the cemetery. It was one of the reasons why I went into there originally. The cemetery contains 124 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 153 from the First World War, and I am proud to say I photographed them all.
In 1908, Gandhi was approached to help find a suitable plot for a crematorium. He negotiated with the town council and the land was allocated in the North Western corner of the New Cemetery (later renamed Brixton Cemetery). The wood burning crematorium was built in 1918 and still stands today, although not in regular use. It was the first brick built crematorium in Africa and was built by Messrs Damania and Kalidas. It was declared a National Monument on 24 September 1995.
Random images from the past.
I have seen Brixton many times before, and some of my images have never seen the light of day. Here are a few of them.
© DRW 2017-2018. Created 30/03/2017, more images added 16/04/2017