Nunhead Cemetery Open Day

Last weekend we did one of our days out that has most of our friends using one word to describe us – weird!! We went to an open day at Nunhead Cemetery in South London. It’s one of the cemeteries known as the big seven – Victorian cemeteries that were built around 1840 to cope with London’s increasing population and the resulting deaths.
The open day was fab, with all sorts of stalls, tours of the site, and a choir in the ruined chapel. We were going to do a tour but the group was too big to hear everything so instead we wandered around by ourselves.

Further into the graveyard there were some Bodgers at work – traditional wood workers, and birds of prey.

The ruined chapel had some great faces on it it – we love checking out gargoyles, with our favourites being the face pullers.

The cemetery is so beautiful and overgrown – it’s lovely how nature has been left to thrive, and it’s now a really important habitat for all sorts of creatures and plants. There is a small part of the cemetery that is still being used so that is kept tidy.

Whilst on our wander we came across two commonwealth war grave sites – the one pictured below is the Australian one – I felt quite moved by how beautifully looked after these graves so far from home are, and most of them just babies really, teenagers and 20’s. The other war grave site was a mixture of Kiwis, South Africans, Canadians, and one lone Australian.

The two graves below are examples of head stones with a carving to show the person’s profession in life – I really like the actors one.

A nice thing you see throughout the cemetery is lots of habitats specifically designed to encourage and look after the wildlife. The pile below was for staghorn beatles.

The choir were fantastic, with the chapel providing a perfect backdrop to their voices – they even got all of us singing. As Ken said, it was quite a surreal moment.

The upside down flame is on the gates as you enter the cemetery, but it is also on lots of gravestones as it is the symbol for life being snuffed out.

On our way home we went past Westminster Abbey so I’ve included a couple of their gargoyles and a lovely door.

So that was our exciting day out amongst the graves – a perfect day out.

Until next time, stay safe and happy.

Pamela and Ken

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