News - John Clarke

 

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John Clarke

Historian of Brookwood Cemetery

News

News 2021


This page posts news and comments about my continuing research into Brookwood Cemetery and related topics.


For earlier news items, see my News pages for 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015


Researching Cemeteries: exploring a shared and living heritage

(January)

Further Restoration Work on the Columbarium

(January)

90 Years of the Oakwood Press (March)

Coffins by Corpse Van

(April)

St Magnus the Martyr Memorial Restored

(April)

80th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Necropolis Private Station (16-17 April)


Researching Cemeteries: exploring a shared and living heritage





















Woking Asian Business Forum has arranged a Zoom-generated seminar on cemetery research, on Saturday 23rd January 2021. The seminar forms part of the Lottery-funded project The living and the dead: Exploring minority burial grounds in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, and is open to everyone with an interest in Brookwood Cemetery.


The seminar will provide an introduction to cemetery research, with emphasis on Victorian cemeteries, the early history and development of Brookwood Cemetery, and the particular role of minority burial grounds in contemporary cemetery landscapes.


Speakers will include:

Julie Rugg, leader of the Cemetery Research Group, University of York.


John Clarke, foremost authority on Brookwood Cemetery, and author of ‘London’s Necropolis: A guide to Brookwood Cemetery’. (Please note my presentation has since been added to The Brookwood Cemetery Society website.)


Avril Madderel, Reading University, leader of research project on ‘Deathscapes and diversity: Making space for death and remembrance in multicultural England and Wales’.


Susan Buckham, Kirkyard Consulting, specialist in the interpretation of cemetery landscapes


When: The seminar will take place on Saturday 23rd January 2021, 11:00-16:00. Due to the current Covid situation, it will be held online, using Zoom. RSVP Ole Jensen, 07838 132521, o.jensen at open.ac.uk Registered participants will be sent a zoom link ahead of the seminar.



Further Restoration Work on the Columbarium


The Columbarium, Brookwood Cemetery


















Woking Borough Council has announced that Brookwood Cemetery has received a grant from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help meet the cost of ongoing repairs during the Coronavirus pandemic.


The fund - administered by Historic England - has been made available to protect the country’s ‘at risk’ heritage sites while also supporting the highly skilled businesses that form a key part of the heritage sector.


Brookwood Cemetery has received £25,000 (the maximum grant) towards the ongoing restoration of the Columbarium. The full press release can be read here and you can read more on the restoration project here.


However it is disappointing that the Council alleges the Columbarium was “blocked up and closed off to the public” and fails to acknowledge the emergency restoration work to the roof undertaken by The Brookwood Cemetery Society in 2009. This was undertaken in collaboration with former owners of the cemetery who arranged the first of several security gates to be installed at the entrance, thus revealing the doorway for the first time in many years. These gates are still in place at the entrance. Further details of the Society’s restoration project can be read here.



90 Years of the Oakwood Press


90 years of Oakwood Press











Oakwood Press is celebrating an astonishing 90 years of specialist transport publishing. It remains the oldest publisher of its type still in business.


My first book was published by Roger Kidner, Oakwood’s founder and owner, just before he retired in 1984. The firm was sold to Jane Kennedy (ex-OPC) and she remained in charge until 2016 when Stenlake Publishing took charge.


I am fortunate indeed to have worked with all three owners. Happy 90th!



Coffins by Corpse Van


Backtrack April 2021



















My article on corpse vans has recently been published in the April 2021 issue of Backtrack.


The article describes and illustrates a number of hearse vans used on Britain’s railway system.



St Magnus the Martyr Memorial Restored


The restored monument over the human remains from St Magnus the Martyr Church, Brookwood Cemetery



















It is good to see the fully repaired and restored monument over the St Magnus the Martyr plot at Brookwood. The human remains were removed on sanitary grounds to Brookwood in 1893-94.


All credit to the church and Skillingtons for undertaking this work.


The photograph is courtesy of Michael Cooper, Parish Clerk.



80th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Necropolis Private Station


80 years ago tonight (16-17 April 1941) the private terminus of the London Necropolis Company was largely destroyed by enemy action. This marked the end of the Necropolis Train which for nearly 90 years had operated funeral trains to Brookwood Cemetery. You can read more on the destruction of the station here.


South Western Circular April 1981 John Clarke























 

40 years ago (April 1981) my first substantial article on this railway funeral service appeared in the pages of "The South Western Circular", starting with the sentence, "1981 marks the fortieth anniversary of the cessation of traffic on the Necropolis branch."


The article in "The South Western Circular" was followed by my dissertation on the origins of Brookwood Cemetery (1982) and the first edition of what has become the standard history of this unique railway service (1983).