Cosy cats and an Egyptian deity of the underworld – creating the Brompton Cemetery animal app.

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

Symbols and Symbolism in Brompton Cemetery – Saturday 8 April 2017

Hand holding Lily of the Valley at Brompton Cemetery
©Carole Tyrrell

If you’re in London and near Brompton Cemetery around 2.30pm on Saturday 8 April 2017 then you are cordially invited onto the Symbols and Symbolism tour.

If you’ve ever wondered what the symbols often found in Victorian cemeteries actually mean and the fascinating background to them then this is the tour for you!

Some of the symbols which will be discussed on the tour have featured on this blog but there will be others as well.

The details are below – cost will be £5 per head – so let’s hope for decent weather on the 8th!

The Brompton Butterfly surrounded by an ivy wreath.
copyright Carole Tyrrell

The Friends of Brompton Cemetery invite you to 

Symbols and Symbolism in Brompton Cemetery – a guided tour Sat 08 April 2017 : 2.30pm – 4.15pm.  

on the meaning of Brompton Cemetery’s

symbols and the lost language of Victorian death.

Meet near front entrance to chapel

Cost £5

for further details and to book contact 0207 351 1689/email: info@brompton-cemetery.org.uk

Address:  Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, Kensington, London, SW10 9UG

Transport links:  Tube West Brompton, Earls Court. Buses: 74,14,211,190,328,430,C1, C3.

Website: http://brompton-cemetery.org.uk.

 

Happy Birthday Shadowsflyaway!

A memorial from West Norwood Cemetery. copyright Carole Tyrrell
A memorial from West Norwood Cemetery.
copyright Carole Tyrrell

Yes shadowsflyaway is one year old this month!

I’ve really enjoyed researching, writing and posting my entries – it’s been wonderful to have an opportunity to immerse myself in history again and to meet other interesting cemetery enthusiasts via cyberspace. Please keep sending your comments.

So let’s raise a glass, cup or mug and celebrate and revel in being taphophiles.  After all everyone has to have a hobby….without cemeteries where would all those eager Pokemon Go enthusiasts go?

This photo was taken in West Norwood Cemetery near the Columbarium – every time I visit there is is always a glass jar or vase containing fresh flowers placed on the shelf. I thought it looked appropriate.

Here’s to another year!

 

A Christmas message

An angel in the snow from a Victorian cemetery copyright Carole Tyrrell
An angel in the snow from a Victorian cemetery
copyright Carole Tyrrell

This angel  is in Elmers End cemetery which is in Beckenham, Kent, UK.   It’ s very close to my home and is the last resting place for several well-known figures.  These include the renowned cricketer, W. G. Grace and  Thomas Crapper who invented the flushing toilet.  There is also a life-size figure of a First World War soldier and a small pond in the remembrance gardens which attracts dragonflies  and has beautiful water lilies in the summer.

Thank you for your comments and observations on the blog and I hope you’ll visit in 2016

Have a happy and peaceful New Year

The Cemetery that changed my life

I submitted a short piece on The Cemetery that changed my life to Loren Rhoads’ excellent blog ‘Graveyard Travels’ and here is the link.

Death’s Garden: The Cemetery that Changed My Life

Please let me know what you think and check out Loren’s blog as well.

My involvement with cemeteries changed my life for the better – I made new friends, got involved with heritage and conservation and came to appreciate the beauty of many of the memorials and the poignancy of their epitaphs. These people had lived and loved and their friends and family wanted to remember them forever.  My involvement with Nunhead Cemetery has been over 25 years no wand I still find new things to see.

Text and photo copyright Carole Tyrrell