Cemeteries are often great places to find wildlife. If you’re lucky you might see a bright little robin or blue tit flitting amongst the memorials as well as foxes, cats and the odd dog out for a walk with his owner. The beginning of summer also heralds the arrival of insects such as butterflies and grasshoppers.
But app designer, Simon Edwards and I, were exploring Brompton Cemetery to find animals of the stone or granite variety either carved or perched onto tombstones. Simon, a GP by trade, had the same enthusiasm as me and we began near the chapel.
The weather couldn’t have been better and my way down to meet Simon I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker land on a memorial and then take off again before I could get my camera out. I had a few suggestions as to where we might find some interesting examples and Simon already had some on his phone and so we began. We also included insects and birds. However once you start looking for carved wildlife it suddenly catches your eye whereas you might not have noticed it before. The afternoon became a treasure hunt as we found cats, a polar bear, a butterfly and a carving of an Egyptian deity amongst others. If you want to find out how many we found you will have to try the app at: https://ticl.me/West-Brompton/headlines/13317/view
However the most popular animal motif was undoubtedly the dove. They were everywhere – both in 2D and 3D versions whether portrayed flying downwards or perched on a cross until eventually we decided that we were both ‘doved-out’. Undoubtedly the best ones were the one on Susannah Smellie’s memorial near the chapel and the one on the headstone dedicated to a 6 month old baby near Hannah Courtoy’s imposing mausoleum.
The app is intended to give you a pleasant way of spending an afternoon exploring the cemetery and finding the graves on which they are and perhaps wondering more about the people who chose them. Don’t forget to let Simon or me know if you find any that we’ve missed!
© Text and images Carole Tyrrell