Archive for ‘east London’

June 4, 2015

Obscura Day in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Obscura Day in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

I’ve mentioned my love of graveyards several times on this blog, so you can imagine my interest when I learned about a guided tour of the one Magnificent Seven cemetery I hadn’t been to yet. The tour was part of this year’s Obscura Day, an annual event organised by Atlas Obscura to encourage people to celebrate and explore the world’s interesting places.

Welcome to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Like the other Magnificent Seven cemeteries, Tower Hamlets Cemetery was originally created to alleviate overcrowding in London’s smaller cemeteries, but unlike the others, it no longer has any of the original cemetery buildings (it was bombed several times during WW2), and much of the site has been transformed into woodland.

A glorious sight currently greets you as you come in via the main gate, with masses of pretty pink flowers dotted around the graves. I was rather charmed by the frame-style gravestones that provide windows through which to see the rest of the cemetery beyond.

a mass of pink flowers in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

peace and pink flowers on a pretty grave in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Fred's Savill's horse grave in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

As well as pointing out some of the interesting people buried in the cemetery, our guide also told us about some of the edible or otherwise useful plants that grow there — more than I’d have realised or recognised on my own (I need to up my foraging game!).

wildflowers in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

gravestones amongst greenery in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

wonky gravestones in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

headless in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

pint size penny graves in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Walking down the paths lined by lovely trees full of birdsong it was easy to forget we were in the middle of Zone 2, just around the corner from all the traffic on Mile End Road, surrounded by housing estates. Many of the graves are half-hidden by encroaching plantlife, but the site is well-managed to ensure the graves are not completely engulfed, although in some cases, nature sometimes seems to be winning.

pathway in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

half-submerged gravestone in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

gravestones amongst greenery in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

cleavers on a gravestone in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

tree eats gravestone in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

[photos taken with the Hipstamatic app using the Bettie XL lens, Kodot XGrizzled film and Jolly Rainbo flash]

You can read other posts about the Magnificent Seven here, and there’s a post about an earlier Obscura Day event here.

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