Limited edition print of Abney Road Cemetery, Hackney, London
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39cm x 21cm watercolour (not including the white boarder paper) giclee print.
A bit more about About Abney Road Cemetery, Hackney
This cemetery is in a perfect state of disrepair. Nature has stamped her foot hard here and claimed it all back. The coffins beneath the rough ground have long since collapsed, making the ivy and moss clad gravestones tip and tilt in all directions. The larger monuments broken and limbless angels teetered drunkenly as though about to dive into the dense undergrowth to disappear for good.
So who would visit such a dilapidated place?
The best way to discover who frequents a cemetery is by looking in the bins. On inspection I noticed empty bottles and cans of near nuclear alcohol. Digging deeper I noticed many a tissue-wrapped dog-poo. So there you have it, drunks and dog walkers my dear Watson. Sure enough as I set about my work I spy both in large numbers.
Who is buried here
With its permanent non-living residents there are a few surprises here. At the main entrance you are met by a colossal granite monument to the ego of one William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. The old first general seems to have recruited a whole battalion of army followers to rest beside him, including his wife Catherine whose rank was “mother of the army”. At the bottom of their inscriptions it confidently announces that both (definitely) went to heaven.
John Swan’s grave stone waxes lyrical about him being the inventor of the screw propeller, rather bitterly lamenting that he has never been given rightful credit, nor even “received the slightest remuneration”. It goes on to say that this “ingenious and modest inventor” also invented the “Self-Acting Chain Messenger”. Well I never! He hasn’t had much luck in death either as his gravestone is in the middle of deep bushes and I happened upon it by pure chance.
At the cemetery’s heart is a sadly neglected non-denominational chapel. Its doors missing, the sturdy windows long broken, it has yet to yield to the developers and the luxury flat monsters. One day the church may be restored to its former splendour, though as it stands its only worshipers are hordes of pigeons and an endless trail of melancholic Goths.
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