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Abney Unearthed: An Evening Lecture on the Victorian Garden Cemetery

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Abney Park Cemetery Trust, The Chapel

215 Stoke Newington High Street

London

N16 0LH

United Kingdom

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Victorian mourning practices are famous for their dark beauty: elaborate mourning costumes, plumed horses drawing lacquered funerary carriages, and countless mourning ephemera housed in museums and private collections. However, one of the most enduring and culturally important aspects of Victorian mourning ritual was the creation of the garden cemetery.

These cemeteries were inspired by visions of Arcadia: “The tomb in the garden was a place where the living could weep moderate tears, recall the dead to mind, reflect, remember, and keep the departed ‘alive’ in some way in thought and spirit.” (Stevens Curl) Removing grief from the putrefying churchyards in the heart of London, to the beautiful outlying gardens of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, transformed the way Victorian Londoners interacted with their spaces of mourning.

In the first of a quarterly events series to promote the ongoing Abney Unearthed project, this evening lecture by cemetery scholar Romany Reagan invites you join us in the chapel to enjoy a glass of wine, hear updates on Abney Unearthed, and learn about Victorian mourning practices through the history and social importance of the garden cemetery in Victorian culture.

Abney Unearthed is a volunteer-based two-year project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Hackney Council to remap Abney Park Cemetery, one of London's ‘Magnificent Seven' Victorian garden cemeteries, and research those buried and, sometimes hidden, within its beautiful woodland.

To date, over 1,700 headstones have been checked and we have discovered a president of the Royal College of Surgeons, a repentant sinner, a demonstrator of chemistry, several reverends, and a partner in a firm of Silversmiths that made the lily font for the christening of Royals.

Guests are invited to arrive at 7pm in the chapel to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, view the Abney Unearthed project boards, and find a seat for a prompt 7:30pm start.

***As part of the HLF funded Abney Unearthed project this is event is FREE, however please register as there is limited space in the chapel***

Romany Reagan is a final-year PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis centres around the layers of meaning that coexist within a cemetery space. By way of an audio walking practice, artistic interpretations of outdoor archive, nonhuman networks, and mourning practices are explored in Abney Park Cemetery. Areas of research encompass: psychogeography, mourning practices, ‘The Good Death’, anachronistic space, heterotopias, gothic sensibility, liminal spaces, the uncanny, and the Victorian ‘Cult of the Dead’. Her walk ‘Crossing Paths/Different Worlds in Abney Park Cemetery’ was published in Ways to Wander (Triarchy Press, 2015) Website: https://abneyrambles.com/ Twitter: @msromany; @abneyrambles

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Date and Time

Location

Abney Park Cemetery Trust, The Chapel

215 Stoke Newington High Street

London

N16 0LH

United Kingdom

View Map

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