Thursday, 16 May 2013

Grave Matters

A few months ago, on the Graveyard Rabbit Column, History Hare I talked about the plight of some graves in Australia being defiled. I commented that whilst it was not metaphorically speaking, in my back yard, it might be one day.

Well it would appear that that day has come.

Some 205 plots located at one of the biggest cemeteries in the Country, the City of London Cemetery at Manor Park are under threat. The announcement is located HERE and a map of the cemetery is located HERE. The formal notice is located HERE with the details of whom to write to in order to raise an objection.

The Official notice does not provide the names of the occupants or the plot owners. It lists plot numbers only. The Burial Registers are not indexed.  In order to establish if you have an ancestor in one of the plots under threat then a charge of £100 is being made per name per year. If you know the plot details then the charge is £25.

Is it the cynic in me that indicates that the costs are so prohibitive that the Officials will get their way?

It would appear that during the 1950 -1960 period the memorials on these graves were removed and no effort was made to record the details. The scanning project of the Burial Records only managed to cover from 1856 – 1861 before the project was halted.

The situation is tragic and one that is only going to get worse, not just across the Capital but across the whole of the United Kingdom and other parts of the globe.

A few years ago I became aware of a similar plight in my home town. The official notice was displayed and asked for people who had an interest in the cemetery to make contact with the cemetery. I made the 200 mile journey and looked over the grave where my Great Grandparents were buried; my Great Grandfather in 1931 and my Great Grandmother in 1937. The plot was purchased with a 75 year ownership. I contacted the council and the plot was transferred into my ownership. Of course I am now responsible for any repairs that are needed, but I do that quite willingly and more importantly the graves are safe from any recycling.

Many of us do not live where our ancestors did. Perhaps there should be a scheme of “Love Your Cemetery” whereby each individual takes part in a project at their nearest cemetery in the hope that the ancestral graves of their family are preserved at another.

I truly do not know the answer, but we need to find one and quickly.

On line Journal of Graveyard Rabbit

1 comment:

  1. It seems to be a disease/virus spreading across the world Julie and we have to stop it!!!

    At the Cheltenham Cemetery, here in South Australia, I've just spent approx $1000, from my meagre savings, to pay the back fees on my Great Grandmother's gravesite which also ensures that, for a few more years, she won't be dug up, shoved in a little box, put back, have a stranger dumped on top of her and her memorial/ headstone chucked away.

    Despite all this money I can't do any repairs etc. to her gravesite because it still belongs to the "grantee" who is long dead. Despite being able to prove my relationship to Eliza Jane I need to get approval from the next "in line" to have it signed over to me. Who are they and how do I find them? ...

    Here in Australia we are beginning to honour the "burial places" of our Indigenous people and bringing their bones back from Universities/ Museums across the world... as well we should!!! However, at the same time we're desecrating the "burial places" of our colonists/settlers.

    Thanks for the post Julie. We do have to find a way to stop this!!!
    Regards, Catherine.