Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 61

don't understand what the tour involves. People can have a misconception that we focus on the sinister and the macabre, which is completely not what we do. We celebrate the lives of the people who are buried and the ornate funerary art and architecture. A number of children come on tours. They've got such incredibly inquiring minds and have asked me questions that I was frankly unable to answer. It's refreshing that children aren't frightened by the fact they're in a cemetery but are, instead, quite intrigued by it. I’ve guided tours of one. Other times 25 or 35. It actually doesn't vary on the time of the year. There were days when we were expecting absolutely zero visitors due to weather conditions, but then we'd have 25 people on a tour. You can never predict how many people will turn up, which is nice. Keeps you on your toes. The Magnificent Seven are now regarded as wildlife havens. There's nothing wrong with having wonderful green spaces within a cramped, packed, city like London. However, in some instances, the term used by certain cemeteries is “managed neglect.” Too often this is just an excuse to allow the plants and wildlife to take over. In some ways this is good, but many headstones and elegant memorials have been tragically lost. Online memorials are the 21st century version of buying a Victorian cemetery plot in perpetuity. Once it's out there it's going to stay online, forever and a day. We’ve now a far better chance of our memory living on when compared to an inscription on a crumbling headstone that no one takes care of anymore. From a conversation with John Wadsworth SAM PERRIN has been an historic cemetery tour guide for the past 15 years, taking walks around Hampstead, Highgate, Tower Hamlets and Abney Park cemeteries. Her main focus is biographical - she especially enjoys researching people now lost to the mists of time who accomplished something unique or experienced something amazing, specifically pertaining to social and women's history. Sam has delivered talks for Museum Showoff, Pride in STEM, the National Archives and Foster Hill Road Cemetery. She is pursuing her Masters Degree in Victorian Studies while writing a full-length historical biography. VOLUME III | 61