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Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park | by Whipper_snapper
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Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Tower Hamlets Cemetery in London's East End is another of the Magnificent Seven of great Victorian London cemeteries and is now known as the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park but is also sometimes called Bow Cemetery. to see the full set.


First opened in 1841 in response to the unhealthy overcrowding of London's medieval churchyards the cemetery is now owned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets but is run by a friends group and maintained as a nature reserve and local park.


It contains much mature woodland and presents - in parts - a strong resemblance to Epping Forest but with gravestones. These memorials are dense in some areas but scattered in others. The ground is rolling and uneven and the trees have become so overgrown as to topple or destroy many of the gravestones. Smaller graves are lost among piles of autumnal leaves and leafmould.


I visited after heavy autumnal rain the night before which made even the main paths slippery. In the course of my visit I fell over four times so I would not recommend it to disabled people. Wandering off of the main paths could be difficult underfoot.


Despite this the cemetery maintains a charm of its own. It is an oasis of wildlife with many birds in the trees and a feeling of quiet at the centre despite being close to the main road at Mile End. The memorials are not as grand as Brompton. In the main they are working class or aspiring middle class people who had no pretensions to the mausoleums and catacombs of the rich.


Areas remain overgrown but the Friends have clearly been busy in some area clearing the worst of the undergrowth and opening up some vistas and views.

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Taken on November 7, 2009