Freelance ballerina based on Earth. I have no birthmark.
Published October 14th 2016
The Ladywell Cemetery in the little apple strudel Brockley in south London is a public park. It was once a gothic cemetery but today it couldn't be farther removed from the usual gothic cliché of crows squawking, mist between the tombstones, and a local fauna of witches and vampires to haunt it. Quite the opposite.
Ladywell is beautiful in its haphazard layout and overgrown vegetation, a look which is preserved under the Brockley Conservation Are. Hedges and trees run along the inside enclosure, blocking out any view of the roads and accompanying noise, so one can be safely nestled away if one needs a break from London.
Joggers and dog-walkers are frequent users, but most people just enjoy the park for a simple stroll. If the weather is nice, one will see people sunbathe against a headstone or read somewhere in a cloistered corner. Unfortunately, there aren't any open spaces or field, so ballgames aren't the thing, but then again, one won't find a better place for a hide and seek thrill, and unlike Highgate Cemetery, Ladywell is free.
The earliest graves do not exceed the 19th century, most are from the latter half of the century up until WWII. It is rare to see funerals today, but a few people are still buried there. From a social historical viewpoint, Ladywell is an interesting insight into the old population of south London, their names, professions, and sometimes guessing family history can be a moot occupation.
Now, in autumn, is the best time to spend time there.
I'm intrgued by the concept of having a cemetery proclaimed as a aprk and that people ight comfortable sit amongst the headstones for recreation. It does at least mean these graveyards will be preserved for the future, important because they form part of an area's cultural heritage.