Exploring West Norwood’s magnificent Greek Necropolis

The word “necropolis” is incredibly evocative – it is somehow a far more atmospheric term for a burial ground than “graveyard” or “cemetery.”  The word derives from the Ancient Greek term nekropolis (νεκρόπολις), which translates as “city of the dead.”  Rather fittingly, given the origins of the term necropolis, today we are visiting the Greek Necropolis, a small but dramatic section of West Norwood Cemetery in south London – a Greek Orthodox cemetery that contains the highest concentration of listed funerary monuments anywhere in Britain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading

The stories behind the statues at St Patrick’s cemetery

If you’ve ever travelled east of Stratford on the London Underground’s Central Line, you’ve probably seen the vast graveyard of St Patrick as the train clatters between Leyton and Leytonstone.  It is the final resting place of around 170,000 residents of East London.  On a pleasant Saturday afternoon, I explored this fascinating cemetery with my friend and fellow graveyard enthusiast Sharon and we discovered so many stories about the people buried there – stories of war, of love, of immigration, of the faith that united all of those buried at St Patrick’s.  Along with St Mary’s at Kensal Green, which Flickering Lamps visited earlier this year, St Patrick’s is one of only two cemeteries in London to cater exclusively to Catholics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading

Novo Beth Chaim: an old Jewish cemetery marooned on a university campus

It’s one of the last places you expect to stumble across an old graveyard, but in the middle of the Mile End campus of Queen Mary, University of London, is a remnant of an old burial ground with many stories to tell about the history of East London and the people who settled there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading

A walk among the stone saints and angels: St Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Green

Next door to the well-known Kensal Green, one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries, is another vast necropolis.  The two cemeteries are separated only by a tall brick wall, and although they are similar in age, and include many similar memorials, there are differences between the two cemeteries – some subtle, others less so.  St Mary’s Cemetery at Kensal Green is one of only two burial grounds in London that caters exclusively for Roman Catholics, and around the cemetery the visitor can see many symbols that reflect the faith of those buried there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading