15 February 2012
Nunhead… not a place I’d normally recommend. I mean I can think of prettier places south of the river. But it’s a great place to die.
The cemetery is an oasis of calm, a monument to tranquillity and interesting headstones. I discovered it by accident, meeting up with another Mother-cum-child-in-buggy and desperately seeking an interesting walk. In an over-crowded city, a chance to ramble through some exotic gravestones is rare, and you soon realise that the Victorians seemed to quite like SE15. Those were the days when the death of a loved one meant splashing the cash on a few pillars and chiselled features – if you don’t believe me check out the memorial to Vincent Figgin. I’ve no idea who he was, but someone thought enough of him to honour him with a small temple.
There’s a chapel and an Obelisk and rumour has it some sort of crypt which is open to visits if you befriend the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery. They need friends, preferably ones with cash, as it’s evident that the love bestowed on burying Victorians has not stood the test of time. There’s a lot of crumbling over-turned or slightly “wild” looking graves. Actually they’re rather romantic in a gothic kind of way, and make for a delightful arty photograph.
The friends have got very organised with their own website and an Open Day (May 19th, 2012). If you’re into more than a quick sojourn then I think it’s really worth getting in touch with them and trying out a special visit. http://www.fonc.org.uk/
The main entrance is on Linden Grove.
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