Autumn comes to Abney Park

What better thing to do on a chilly Sunday afternoon than explore a beautiful old cemetery?  Abney Park in Stoke Newington is one of London’s gems – as well as being one of the city’s “Magnificent Seven” Victorian cemeteries, it’s a peaceful space that members of the local community have worked hard to make into a welcoming place for visitors.  It was founded in 1840 as the first completely non-denominational burial ground in England and is the final resting place of many well-known nonconformists.  Bunhill Fields, which for nearly two centuries had been the main site for nonconformist burials in London, closed in 1854, and Abney Park took over as the most prominent burial place of nonconformists.  Probably the most famous people to be buried at Abney Park are William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army.

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The menagerist’s memorial: the story behind Abney Park’s marble lion

Among the trees and memorials of Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington, a huge white marble lion sleeps peacefully.  This beautiful tomb marks the final resting place of one of the great showmen from the turn of the 20th century, “The Animal King” Frank C Bostock.  By the time of his death in 1912, Frank’s wildly popular menageries had toured all over Europe and America.

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