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Staring Into The Face of Death

It’s not on display any more, but one of my favourite objects in The British Museum is Napoleon’s death mask. Death masks were often used in an era before photography was widespread and captured likenesses which were used in sculpting busts of the decased post mortem. John Constable’s is on display at the Royal Academy […]

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Bones Beneath a Bishop’s Palace

A Victorian dog and his master A pleasant fifteen minute amble from Parsons Green station, Fulham Palace and its gardens is managed by a charitable trust. In continual possession of the Church of England since AD 704 (when Bishop Waldhere acquired the Manor of Fulham) it is a scheduled ancient monument – which gives it […]

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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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The Peregrine of St. Pauls

The Museum of London has a fabulous Peregrine Falcon. It is however, dead. I saw this bird of prey when I visited the Beasts of London exhibition in 2019 and there was something terribly sad about seeing a creature, although long deceased, stuffed, mounted and displayed in a way that does not reflect the nature […]

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The Graves of English Poets

Occasionally I find gems from the archives that were published years ago by my cemetery and graveyard-loving predecessors – and this particular one deserves to be seen my living eyes once more.  The following words originally appeared in ‘The Bizarre Notes and Queries in History, Folk-lore, Mathematics, Mysticism, Art, Science, Etc‘ that was published by […]

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This Is Halloween

Ooooh GAWD it’s my Christmas! This week sees all manner of deathly symbols and imagery invade supermarkets, schools and offices. Whilst like any other festival, its commercialisation does seem to have detracted from its origin as Samhain, a time indicating the start of the darker part of the year and the time where the veil […]

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Dead Man’s Walk

Standing down the Old Bailey in the 1860’s would have been a very different experience. Its legacy lives on in prose and artefacts – one of my favourite exhibits at the Museum of London is a door from the infamous gaol that formerly stood on the site of the current Central Criminal Court. For me, […]

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Help Restore The Burdick Grave

Right; roll up sleeves time, people. An accident befell my friends at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park not too long ago; a ruddy great tree decided it was time to collapse and in the process it took out a monument that is now in pieces on the floor. Tower Hamlets doesn’t have the most spectacular tombs […]

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Who Was Lady Marie?

Lady Marie. She’s long been a fascination because…well, because where she was laid to rest just simply doesn’t add up. Tucked into a former council estate that just touches on the woodland part of Bromley, is St. Luke’s Cemetery. Originally  built to provide a resting place for the parishioners of the church with which the […]

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