Hello, and welcome to my website. I'm a freelance writer and medical librarian based in London.
My writing and research has mainly focused on Brookwood Cemetery, but I have also written on railway-
Over the years I have presented many lectures on Brookwood Cemetery and its railway funeral service. If you are interested in booking me for a local (or national) group then please feel free to contact me via the contact page on this website or email me at info at john-
Please note that due to work commitments I am usually only able to give talks in the evening or at the weekend.
I have also authored some websites which explore the rich content of some of the part-
Information about all of these areas are incorporated into my website.
Rhododendron Clearance at Brookwood Cemetery is Destroying This Historic Landscape
May I draw your attention to the devastation of the historic landscape of Brookwood Cemetery?
Work is currently being undertaken by South Bucks Tree Surgeons under contract from the Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of Woking Borough Council. On the grounds that these shrubs are “non-
The work ignores the fact there is ample photographic evidence proving that rhododendrons have been a major feature of the cemetery landscape for at least 120 years.
But not -
The St Alban’s plot: utterly denuded of its privacy and seclusion (and they’ve missed a bit on the right-
One of my favourite plots at Brookwood, the burial ground for St Alban’s Holborn, has been destroyed by the complete removal of all the surrounding rhododendrons. Its peace and privacy has been completely shattered. What Pevsner described as “a sombre complex landscape” is being completely transformed since this sorry process is set to continue across the whole southern side of the cemetery.
Had this work been undertaken by the late Ramadan Guney I’m sure the Council would have acted at once to prevent it. To their shame neither English Heritage nor the Brookwood Cemetery Society has commented on these developments; in fact reading the latter’s latest “newsletter” one would be mistaken for thinking this clearance is a mere weeding or tidying process.
I complained to Councillor for Brookwood -
Another view of the St Alban’s plot: both the lych gate and the Tankerton Calvary are now isolated amidst a scene of desolation. Years ago the Burial Society of St Alban’s probably paid for the rhododendrons to be planted to screen their section. This provided visitors the privacy and seclusion they sought when visiting the graves of their loved ones. Its former atmosphere of a country churchyard has been completely extinguished.
Oakwood Press: Change of Ownership
As an Oakwood Press author, I was recently informed that the publishing house is to be handed over to a new owner.
After 31 years, Jane Kennedy, who took over the Oakwood Press from its founder, Roger Kidner, has decided to pass on the press to a like minded person, namely Richard Stenlake, founder of Stenlake Publishing.
For my book, The Brookwood Necropolis Railway, this will be the third owner of Oakwood Press.
It was Roger Kidner who agreed to publish the original version in 1983, whilst all subsequent editions have appeared under Jane Kennedy’s ownership.
Meanwhile, for collectors of the Oakwood Press titles, I can recommend Terence Mullarkey’s history of the Oakwood Press: Oakwood Press the First 80 Years 1931-
“Diversity in Brookwood Cemetery” for the Magnificent 7 Seminars: Diversity in Cemeteries, Small Crematorium Chapel, West Norwood Cemetery, Saturday 5 November 2016 from 10.30 -
The draft programme can be viewed here.
“The Brookwood Cemetery Railway” for the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery (Kensal Green Cemetery, Thursday 10 November 2016 at 7.30pm; tickets cost £5 and may be booked through this link)
For my earlier lectures, please follow this link.
The Passenger Train Created to Carry the Dead
I’ve been assisting Amanda Ruggeri for her article posted on the BBC Britain Autos website on the Brookwood Cemetery Railway.
The article was posted on 18 October and includes a number of quotes taken from our telephone conversation, along with some pictures from my collection. You can read the article here.