5 Things To Do In London's Cemeteries (May-June 2015)

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 30 months ago
5 Things To Do In London's Cemeteries (May-June 2015)

Choirs perform in the roofless chapel at Nunhead Cemetery's open day. Photo by Andrew Smith in the Londonist Flickr pool.

1. Say happy birthday to Abney Park

Abney Park turns 175 this month, and to celebrate, there's a panoply of events, including a family fun day with cabaret, food, craft workshops and stalls; a talk by authors who've been inspired by the cemetery; a Victorian Day (featuring a death cafe and a look at some of Abney Park's music hall artists); and a day of music starring The Elastic Band, John Hegley, and "freeform urban sax where you least expect it" (talk about terrifying). Events are free or cheap. Check out the full list of events.

2. Mark the other Marx in Highgate

Everyone's fave cemetery fact is that Karl Marx is buried in Highgate, but on 20 May, biographer Rachel Holmes focuses on Karl's daughter Eleanor — a great change-maker in her own right (tickets £10+booking fee). Then, on 13 June Highgate invites you to a hands-on stone masonry workshop (tickets £95+booking fee), in which you get to carve letters into your very own piece of Portland Stone (probably not big enough to use as your actual gravestone).

3. Explore morality, sin and redemption at Brompton

The Fieri Consort are at Brompton Cemetery on 8 May, performing Out of the Shadows, which takes listeners on a chilling yet redemptive musical journey capturing everything from the intense expressions of murderous composer Prince Carlo Gesualdo, to a text written by Sir Walter Raleigh while awaiting execution in the Tower of London. Tickets £9-£12.

Eleanor Marx is buried alongside her famous father. You can find out more about the radical daughter at Highgate Cemetery this month. Photo by O.F.E. in the Londonist Flickr pool.

4. Dye naturally in Tower Hamlets

'Natural Dyeing Workshop' is a fittingly-titled event taking place in Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 9 May. Susie Wareham helps you create your own dyed textiles, using natural materials and sustainable processes (£45, £36 concessions). Other May events include a bat walk, a wild food forage, and a course on how to use herbs found in the cemetery for medicinal purposes. On 6 June, it's the Summer Fair (free). More info on all these and more on the website.

5. Hang out with birds of prey at Nunhead

On 16 May, Nunhead Cemetery hosts its biggest event of the year — a free open day featuring woodcrafting demonstrations, birds of prey on show, local history stalls, a children's bug hunt, choirs performing in the chapel and tours of the mausoleum and crypt.

There's plenty more happening in London's cemeteries over the summer. We'll be publishing a second of these articles in a couple of months.

Last Updated 06 May 2015

John Crow

23 June (St John's Eve) Crossbones Festival http://on.fb.me/1IhXPgM