Rest in peace? Why re-using graves is crucial

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Philip Rahtz Lecture Theatre (K/133)

King's Manor, University of York

Exhibition Square

York

YO1 7EP

United Kingdom

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Rest in peace? Why re-using graves is crucial to saving our cemetery heritage

Around the country, many historic cemeteries are in a terrible state. Chapels are ruined or boarded up, slowly decaying. Once fine landscapes are overgrown, and new burials clog up the old paths. Memorials have suffered from the climate, from vandals, and from local authorities terrified that they might fall over. Meanwhile, new cemeteries are built further and further away from where people live, giving the bereaved ever longer journeys to visit their loved ones.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Re-using graves could help generate the income needed to restore historic buildings and landscapes. Cemeteries would not feel forgotten and unloved, but would be visited and valued. A new generation of grave owners would deter vandals and discourage antisocial behaviour.

Taking London’s Highgate Cemetery as an example, Ian Dungavell considers whether a sustainable way forward can be found.


Speaker biography: Dr Ian Dungavell is Chief Executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, the charity which cares for Highgate Cemetery. He was formerly Director of the Victorian Society, the charity which campaigns for Victorian and Edwardian heritage.

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Philip Rahtz Lecture Theatre (K/133)

King's Manor, University of York

Exhibition Square

York

YO1 7EP

United Kingdom

View Map

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