Let’s take a look at one of my favourite places in London: The sombre, haphazard, and very beautiful Abney Park Cemetery.
Abney Park was the first arboretum to be combined with a cemetery in Europe, back in 1840. It started off as 2,500 trees and shrubs that were all labelled and arranged alphabetically around the perimeter, but somewhere along the way it became incredibly overgrown and wild, giving us the gloriously verdant and sylvan park we have today.
As soon as you veer from the path you find yourself on wildly uneven ground, bumping into old crypts and stubbing your toe on long-collapsed memorials. As well as being a heritage site, it’s also a local nature reserve, and a great potential Dark Souls location.
Abney Park is non-denominational , and has been for its duration, leading to many notable burials and memorials within the park. Here’s a few (each of these listed present a potential wiki wormhole):
- Dr. Isaac Watts , the non-conformist ‘Doctor of Divinity’
- William and Catherine Booth, founders of The Salvation Army
- James Braidwood, credited with forming the first municipal fire brigade
- Early feminist writer Mary Hays
- Early realist playwright Thomas William Robertson
…and a number of anti-slavers:
- Rev. Samuel Oughton and the Rev. Thomas Burchell, slavery abolitionists
- Samuel Sharpe, leader of the 1832 slave rebellion in Jamaica
- Wife of Aaron Buzacott, the Secretary of Anti-Slavery International
Neither list is close to comprehensive, but you can check wiki if you want to see more. The park also contains the remains of many musical hall and theatre performers, presumably good eggs all.
Thanks for reading about Abney Park! Have a delightfully dreary night!