Abney Park Cemetery (with pictures)
This week I went to Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, which is one of London’s “Magnificent Seven“. For anyone not in the know, these are a septet of grandiose Graveyards erected in London in the 19th century as final resting places for the capital’s dead. Delightfully gothic in style, they are scattered around the city and are well worth a visit.
Of these, so far I have visited Nunhead, Highgate, West Norwood and Tower Hamlets (in that order) over the last 10 years, so at this rate I will probably visit the remaining two and finally tick them all off my list some time around 2025; roughly around the same time Brexit eventually happens or hell freezes over. If I live that long.
Located in a remote borough of North London, Abney Park is quite a mission for me to get to from Camberwell, and like most South Londoners, going north of the river is not a prospect I rejoice in. I do commute to Islington every day for work, however, but this is only under the proviso that they pay me a hero’s wage in return. To put this into perspective further, I’m willing to travel half way around the world in order to go tubing in Vang Vieng in Laos – via several planes, trains and automobiles, no less – but jumping on the tube to venture up to Stoke Newington is simply not on.
As usual, I have digressed, so back to the cemetery at hand; it is not at beautiful as Nunhead or as grand as West Norwood, but at least they don’t charge you to get in like Highgate (the price of mingling with dead celebrities is high!). Smaller than I had expected, the place is nevertheless charming, and has the same Hammer Horror foresty atmosphere as do the others I have been to on the list.
As is often the case with cemeteries these days, Abney Park was annoyingly busy; any hopes I may of had to idly wander around in isolation, free to ponder life’s important questions, explore – or maybe have a wank – were completely out of the question; surrounded as I was by beardy 40-somethings in crocs, walking their rare breed dogs, or young hipsters sitting around drinking their overpriced bullet-blended super fruit smoothies. Have some fucking respect for the dead! and besides, everyone knows graveyards are a place for drunks to hang around in.
Unlike Highgate as previously alluded to, there are few celebrity graves to be found at Abney Park, but there are a handful of notables buried there according to the sign that greets you by the entrance. These include Willian Booth, who founded the Salvation Army. Now although I’m not religious by any means, I’ve always been a big fan of this lot; they claim to be “God’s Army“, organising themselves in a military hierarchy of majors and generals instead of vicars and bishops – and yet they don’t undergo any rigorous combat training, and certainly haven’t declared any form of holy war on infidels. They even do a lot of community work for the homeless, and their brass band regiments even bang out a few cracking good carols around the Xmas season.
Also interred at Abney Park is Frank Bostock. Never heard of him, but here’s his epitaph which I find highly amusing (also have a look at the expression on the big cat in the photo).
The animal king survived a long career touring his big cat show, only to succumb to flu while visiting his giraffes.
Next on the list are Brompton and Kensal Green…
You can read about my previous jaunts here:
Categories:Lists, London Life, RIP
This is a personal website and the views expressed here are my own (or stolen from other people down the pub). Facts may not be accurate, or could be poorly paraphrased gags borrowed from proper writers - or simply, outright lies.