Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Abney Park Cemetery

On a recent trip to London to visit friends I also took the opportunity to visit Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, in the London borough of Hackney. It is one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries and a peaceful Saturday afternoon was spent exploring the place. It’s no secret I love cemeteries (the older the better) and wouldn’t think twice about spending an afternoon wandering around one and taking photos.

In 1840 Abney Park became a non-denominational garden cemetery and semi-public park arboretum, and today it is used by local residents who walk, jog, picnic, hang out and drink there.

Amongst the dark delights I discovered were an abandoned gothic chapel in the middle of the grounds and various catacombs amongst the overgrown and hauntingly beautiful walkways; themselves flanked by landscaped woodlands. Everything is wildly overgrown and atmospheric.

Amongst the dead interned in Abney Park are William and Catherine Booth, founders of The Salvation Army. Here are (but a few!) of the photographs I took whilst wafting around there on a strangely mild November afternoon... 















17 comments:

Erik (Drunketh) said...

Thank you for this! I love cemetery pictures.

Wes M said...

Fabulous pics James. I'm guessing you've been to Père-Lachaise in Paris - a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Everyone goes to see The Lizard King's grave of course but I made a pilgrimage to Georges Méliès' grave and offered a quick word of thanks for creating the Cinema of Imagination.

bananabones said...

Hey James,

Id love to forward you an email regarding blog content. Is there an email i can reach you at?

Anna
IndustryWorks Picutres
Vancouver, BC
Canada

James Gracey said...

My pleasure Erik!

Alas Wes, the last time I was in Paris I was about 12 on a school trip! I'd love to go back - and Pere-Lachaise will be on my list of things to do. Thanks for the link! ;)

Bananabones you can email me at the_outsider [at] live [dot] co [dot] uk - look forward to hearing from you.

Aaron said...

Great pics, James! I would love to hang out and drink there!

Jayme said...

Lovely!

Jon T said...

Lovely photos, James. I live quite close to the cemetery. Just up the road from the cemetery is St Ignatius church where Hitchcock went to school as a boy. Check it out next time you are over!

James Gracey said...

Cheers Jon. I'm pretty sure my friend pointed out St Ignatius church, but she didn't mention the Hitchcock connection - otherwise I would have gone for a wee look. Also just around the corner from Abney Cemetery is a lovely pub called The Fox Reformed. Its building was formerly a school where Edgar Allan Poe studied. They had little ink wells from the original excavation and lots of movie posters like Premature Burial and Tomb of Ligeia. They also served a mighty fine house red. I was in heaven! ;)

Jon T said...

I haven't been to The Fox Reformed in ages, James. I didn't know about the Poe connection. Stoke Newington has quite a lot of mysticism in its history. Iain Sinclair lives nearby and he writes about it a lot.

James Gracey said...

Last weekend was my first time in Stoke Newington - I think I may have fallen a little in love with the place. Hope to get back there soon for more nosing around!

Christine Hadden said...

I've meant for a few days now to write and tell you how much I enjoyed these photos!
I too, love cemeteries, and though the ones here in the states are nowhere near as old, I still love a meandering stroll through any of them. It's a peaceful way to pass a few hours and I love to read the stones.

This cemetery is thoroughly atmospheric and beautiful. I doubt we have any as striking over here, though I was moved by all the history at Gettysburg when we visited it - all those soldiers lost in our Civil War, their spirits just hung in the air, you could feel it. I want to go back soon.

And James - you have a fantastic eye for photography! Any of these would be wonderful framed and hung.

Would love to see more :)

James Gracey said...

Thanks so much Christine! Glad you liked the photos. I fell head over heels in love with the place and couldn't resist sharing the pictures on here with kindreds.

Hope you're well - I promise to stop procrastinating and write to you soon! :)

christine said...

Gosh, those are lovely.
Thanks for sharing.

Cody said...

Absolutely breathtaking.

Keyser Soze said...

Great pics :).

Movie Memorabilia

Warden Stokely said...

"Stoke" Newington? "local residents who walk, jog, picnic, hang out and drink there"? Catacombs? Founders of the Salvation Army? Suddenly, I'm not quite so sad anymore. Boy, Burrishoole. Man, that kicked my butt. Gonna have to walk through there one day, James, just to come to terms with it. K. I really have to get back to the prison now. Thanks for taking me on a "walk" through Belfast City, Burrishoole, Abney Park, and Magheralin cemeteries, James. Your posts are fantastic and visually stunning.

James Gracey said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying these post, Stokely. Abney Park Cemetery is one of the most atmospheric, beautiful cemeteries I've ever wafted through. I yearn to return there one day.