Welcome to the darkness


Enter.  I always do.

I’ve seen more coffins than most people unless you include undertakers.  For the last 25 years I’ve been involved with cemeteries.  Firstly, as a visitor to my nearest large Victorian cemetery, Nunhead, and then as a helper on the publications stall, contributor to the quarterly journal.and finally tour guide.  My speciality is symbols.

It’s a lost language in some ways and there are often several interpretations for each one.  But more on this in future blogs.

When I visit a cemetery I don’t think ‘Oh scary place full of dead people.’  I usually think that yes, it’s a cemetery and full of dead people but people with their own stories who lived their lives and afterwards someone cared enough about them to erect a memorial, a mausoleum, a vault or just a very simple plain stone in their memory.  I often feel a lot of love in cemeteries especially when I read some of the epitaphs.. Even though the huge Victorian monuments are beyond the reach of us today we often still like to individualise our loved ones final resting place with something that was personal to them.

Death is the last great mystery.  We may not have any control over when it occurs or how.  But We are all going to die and it’s how you live your life that’s important.

In this blog I will share some of my favourite memorials, epitaphs, and photos and also reveal the hidden language of symbols.


The image above is from West Norwood Cemetery catacombs.

Photo and text copyright Carole Tyrrell

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