Friday, 3 April 2009
In Memoriam - a series of glimpses into attitudes to death and how it is marked
As an occasional student of funerary architecture, I often visit cemeteries and graveyards. It is surprising what interesting stories arise by just reading the words on the headstones. Not so many years ago, I found a headstone that marked the grave of an Edwardian gentleman and his wife. After her name was inscribed the words 'The escaped Nun'. Now that's a story to think about.
Some of the larger London Cemeteries have open days where guided tours take place. In one case, the catacombs were opened and it was fascinating to see how the Victorians commemorated Death. Often while visiting junk shops and bric-a-brac fairs, I would find postcards and photographs of tombs and funerals filed under the heading of Social History. They cost just a few pence and I would put them in a postcard album. Recently, I found two of the albums which contain several hundred cards. I thought you might appreciate my sharing a few of the more unusual images with you.