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
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.
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