One of the exciting things which I have been involved with lately is volunteering on a project at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry to catalogue and digitize the Rootes archive held there. This lead to another brilliant opportunity – I finally had some time to explore a cemetery I have been meaning to visit for years!
I first found out about this cemetery when I attended a Victorian Society study day several years ago. There was a talk about London Road which really whetted my appetite, including hearing about all the fantastic restoration work which had recently been undertaken.
The cemetery is a short walk from the city centre or train station- although the road layout is somewhat confusing at the moment because of improvement works. I found a ‘short-cut’ through the university campus – but when all the roads are open again, there may be a quicker way. As I was walking, it started to rain, so my photos aren’t very pretty (especially having been taken on my phone). That’s a real shame, because the cemetery itself is awe-inspiring!
I was really happy when I found the cemetery, but I didn’t have very much time to explore because my phone battery was low and I needed to be on the train back to Birmingham before rush hour. I will definitely return over the summer though, and write a proper guide!
In the meantime here are a few vignettes from my whistle stop tour, starting by the main gate.
The cemetery is built on the site of a quarry and so has wonderfully varied terrain. There is an embankment along the London Road wall of the cemetery, which provided strolling visitors with fantastic views of the landscape.
The cemetery contains two funerary chapels, one for Anglicans and another for non-conformist services. An area of the cemetery was left unconsecrated for the burial of dissenting Christians.
The interesting terrain is accompanied by a wonderful mixture of memorials most of which are in very good condition, although like all cemeteries of this era, some have fallen or become weathered.
London Road is renowned for it’s trees, which may cause some disturbance to the memorials, but it’s a small price to pay for their majestic forms and shady boughs.
I can’t wait to go back – hopefully with better weather next time!!
In the meantime, for more information and heaps of great images, check out the Friends of London Road Cemetery website!