St Alfege’s Recreation Ground

The former graveyard at St Alfeges (not the churchyard, which I’ll come onto another day) is an odd little park. I like to visit it every so often – in fact it always used to be my resort of choice after having purchased a Beehive Coffee, since one person in shop at a time constituted a crowd. By the time I’d walked round to the little graveyard and perched myself on a bench, the coffee was just at a good temperature to drink. Ah, that all seems so long ago…

As I was walking through it just before my sodding camera broke (not that I’m bitter or anything…) it struck me for the first time that Autumn really is on its way. This little chap (sitting on a memorial) was burying some nuts he’ll never find again, and there was a distinct crunching sensation underfoot.

I don’t know much about when this was turned from being a graveyard to a park, though I’m guessing just after the war, from the disused tea hut and the loos (which, btw, were open when I was there – and clean -hooray!)

Most of the headstones have been hoofed up and now line the walls, and those memorials that survive have a melancholy ‘Nunhead’ feel about them. Some are completely covered in ivy, others have lost their outer, stony clothes and stand there brazenly in their brick-pillared knickers. Virtually none are legible any more.

Which all got me to wondering. Has anyone ever done a round-up of the memorials at St Alfege’s – some in the churchyard are still readable and utterly fascinating.

Maybe if not, here’s an idea. Phantomites could adopt-a-grave. Just take a pic,write down the exact words written on the stone and let us know where we can find it…

It would make a great, if slightly macabre new series, don’t you think?

Sorry – thinking aloud again. But I bet there’s some stories to be had in that graveyard.

I leave you with a root that took a fancy to a baby gravestone, but was rudely cut off in its prime…

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