Memorial for baby Oliver Jefferies
Photograph taken by David Shaw at the memorial ceremony dated 16th March 2012.
After nearly three years of negotiations with church authorities, of filling in forms, consultations and addressing a million other hurdles, the Eltham Society has succeeded in placing this inscribed memorial stone to mark the exact spot where baby Oliver was buried in St John’s Churchyard, in a common grave that once bore a wooden cross.
Richard and Jessie’s baby son (known as Oliver) died, aged only twenty months old, whilst the Jefferies’ family were living at 14 Victoria Road, Eltham (now 59 Footscray Road).
Harold Jefferies (Richard & Jessie’s first born son) recounted the death of his baby brother as ‘a terrible blow to father. His suffering, which was far greater than that of the child, prevented him from attending the funeral, and mother and I were, I believe, alone in the coach to Eltham church. The agonised expression on father’s face, as he stood at the open door watching the little cortège slowly move away, haunted my mind for many years,’ (Worthing Cavalcade, Richard Jefferies: My Father by his son, 1944, pp.19-20).