The Lions of London, Part 1

A marker to the dead can take many forms. A simple slab. A towering obelisk. A niche in a wall. Or as a ruddy great lion. Lions in cemeteries – not actual lions, although wouldn’t that be something – exist in funerary sculpture and are almost as impressive as seeing the real thing. There are […]

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Fantasy Coffins

Ga culture, in south-east Ghana, has a brilliant way of remembering the lives of those they’ve lost. Coffins in all kinds of shapes. Lions. Snakes. Chilli peppers. Aeroplanes. Coca cola bottles. For the Ga people, these stylish, personalised coffins are a rite of passage for anyone who dies in the local community. Ga, or fantasy […]

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Finding Mr. Moonlight

There’s a cemetery on a common that practically no-one knows is there. It’s not listed on The London Borough of Richmond’s Cemeteries page (it should be) and the state it’s in now is a stark contrast as to how well it was maintained a century ago. I first found out about the cemetery from a […]

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The Death Pyramid of Toxteth

A revolution in death is being built in Liverpool. Cremation; the nation’s preferred method of disposal when it comes to dealing with the dead. You can be scattered at sea, kept on a mantlepiece or, as a friend told me about his own friend’s late mother, discreetly sprinkled on the carpets of several well known landmarks […]

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A Them-Days Jamie Oliver

Celebrity chefs are common-place nowadays – the likes of Gino Sheffield Di Campo, Ainsley Harriott and Jamie Oliver. But let’s turn back the clock and look at the very first ‘sleb cook whose grave is one of the most impressive funerary monuments in the country. A true story of love and devotion: one of the people […]

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The Wards

An artistic dynasty’s story in Kensal Green Surfing eBay one lunchtime, I found a single page from the London Illustrated News. On a page with barely readable writing, alongside some beautiful engravings of steles and sculptures of the Copán archaeological site in South America was a slightly planer illustration celebrating the memorial to James Ward, […]

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