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  • hilly 5:24 pm on August 19, 2016
    Tags: , pet cemetery   

    Pet Cemetery Open Day 

    The Friends of the Pet Cemetery Open Day2016 poster

    The Friends of the Pet Cemetery are holding their first open day on Saturday 20th August 2016 from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm. Liz, the Friends’ Chair, wrote with details and with an update on their achievements to date. They will have various stalls including a toy tombola, Blackheath Pet Supplies, a quiz and a children’s stall. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery and browse the pet memorials.

    There seem to be more improvements at the pet cemetery every time I drop in. The most notable recent changes are the new circular benches around the trees in the cemetery, funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Parks and Gardens Association and installed by Eltham  Men in Sheds, and a trellis arch with a stone seat funded by the Greenwich Community Projects Scheme. The garden beds have also benefitted from hard work and lots of new plants, and more of the old memorials to deceased pets have been cleaned up. They have also recently completed mapping the memorial stones and have put up a notice board at the entrance to the cemetery.

    The Pet Cemetery Charlton showing the new Benches around the trees

    View of the Pet Cemetery showing the new Benches around the trees

    New decorative arch and stone bench at the Pet Cemetery Charlton

    New decorative arch and stone bench at the Pet Cemetery Charlton

    The most interesting part of the pet cemetery to me is the old memorials and the enigmatic stories hinted at by their inscriptions. One that I noticed when I first visited the Pet Cemetery a few years ago looked like it had recently been cleaned, revealing its moving inscription more clearly. It was to a dog called Simba:

    IN MEMORY OF
    FAITHFUL SIMBA
    AND HIS UNSELFISH DEVOTION
    TO E.A ? R.C.M.
    HE DIED ON 4TH DEC 1935
    AGED 14 YEARS
    AFTER 12 YEARS SERVICE WITH THE 93RD
    AT HOME IN JAMAICA CHINA ? INDIA

    WE COULD NOT, IF WE WOULD, FORGET
    EACH OTHER. WHEN IN TURN THE DARK
    SHALL GLAZE MY EYES, YOUR JOYOUS BARK
    WILL GREET ME ECHOING TO THE SKY.
    TILL THEN, DEEP LOVING HEART, GOODBYE

    The Pet Cemetery is opposite the Fox Under the Hill Pub on Shooters Hill Road, follow the path down between the wall and the flats, the entrance is on the  left marked by a Blue Plaque.

     

    Memorial to Simba at the Pet Cemetery

    Memorial to Simba at the Pet Cemetery

    Simba's memorial in 2013

    Simba’s memorial in 2013

     

     
  • hilly 4:23 pm on December 3, 2015
    Tags: pet cemetery   

    Friends of the Pet Cemetery new website 

    A gravestone at the Pet Cemetery

    A gravestone at the Pet Cemetery

    The Friends of the Pet Cemetery Charlton  have just launched their new web site, The Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery, with the URL  http://www.oldbluecrosspetcemetery.org.uk/

    It has a lot of interesting information about the cemetery, including the history of its development from its start as the Blue Cross Quarantine Kennels in the years following the First World War, when it was used to house pets brought home by returning servicemen. There are some great archive photos, as well as pictures of how it has changed since the Friends took over responsibility for looking after it. There are also details of how to become a member of the Friends, for only £2 a year, and how to have a plaque commemorating a pet put on the memorial wall.

    The events page announces their first open day next summer on 9th July 2016 and the dates of their regular clean-up sessions.

    Liz, the Friends’ Chair,  who wrote to tell me about the web site said that they would welcome feedback on the website either by through their Facebook page or by contacting the Chair or Secretary whose details are on the closing page of the site.

    I’ve updated the links on the right to include this new local web site.

    New bench in the Pet Cemetery garden

    New bench in the Pet Cemetery garden

     
  • hilly 5:47 pm on November 26, 2015
    Tags: , , pet cemetery   

    Bulb planting this weekend 

    Crocuses in Eaglesfield Park

    Crocuses in Eaglesfield Park

    Both the Friends of Eaglesfield Park and the Friends of the Pet Cemetery are planting bulbs for the spring this weekend: Eaglesfield on Saturday and the Pet Cemetery on Sunday. Both would welcome help.

    The Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be planting daffodils and native bluebells in the meadow around the lilly pond between 11.00am and 3.00pm on Saturday, 28th November. Madeleine wrote with details:

    We will be meeting up at the pond on Saturday 28th November from 11.00am onwards to plant native bluebells and daffodils.  Weather permitting !
    Can you help us ?  Whatever time you can spare would be greatly appreciated.  May we ask you to bring your own tools – e.g. spades/hand trowel/gloves and don’t forget the wellies.
    The crocuses planted a couple of years ago now provide a great display and we  would now like to add native bluebells and daffodils in the meadow surrounding the pond.     We hope you agree they will provide beautiful spring colour, and enhance the tranquillity of this area of Eaglesfield Park.

    The Parks and Open Spaces of the Royal Borough of Greenwich have kindly donated 2,000 native English Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and 2,000 Daffodils (Narcissus pseudo narcissus) but, of course, they need to be planted!
    Please join us.

    The Friends are also planning maintenance of the pond itself, such as thinning out the lillies and other pond plants, working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Froglife and Ponds UK (Aquatic Management Ltd).

    Autumnal Eaglesfield

    Autumnal Eaglesfield

    The Pet Cemetery Charlton

    The Pet Cemetery Charlton

    If you’re not at the Climate Change March on Sunday the Pet Cemetery is well worth a visit – to see the amazing transformation the Friends of the Pet Cemetery have made to what was a neglected area just a couple of years ago, and to help them plant some bulbs. Jean Patrick, the Friends’ Secretary e-mailed:

    On Sunday, we are holding a bulb planting session.  We have received generous donations of hundreds of bulbs that we would like to plant all in one go if possible.  If you are able to spare some time next Sunday, between 10am-3.30pm, we would be very grateful, even if you can only pop in for 30 minutes.  Please bring a trowel, gloves and kneeling mat if needed.

    The Cemetery is looking really good: lots of colourful plants, donated by local people, Thompson’s Garden Centre and the Parks Department; a number of new bird and bug boxes; two new benches from the Royal Borough of Greenwich; and a memorial wall for plaques to commemorate deceased pets. The old concrete bench bases from around the trees have been removed and  the Shedders from Men in Sheds will soon be creating new circular seating to replace them, partially funded by a grant from Metropolitan Public Gardens Association.

    The Friends are currently setting up their own web site: I’ll publicise the URL as soon as it’s ready.

    Anyone who would like to have a plaque put on the memorial wall to remember a pet should contact either the Chair of the Friends, Liz McDermott on mcdermott_liz @hotmail.com or the Secretary Jean Patrick on jmp179@skye.com for prices and other details.

    Memorial wall at the Pet Cemetery

    Memorial wall at the Pet Cemetery

    Memorial wall at the Pet Cemetery

    Old gravestone at the Pet Cemetery

     
  • hilly 9:20 pm on September 11, 2014
    Tags: , , pet cemetery   

    Pet Cemetery Presentation 

    Headstone in the pet cemetery, Hornfair Park

    Headstone in the pet cemetery, Hornfair Park

    Liz, who chairs the  Friends of the Pet Cemetery, wrote to let me know about a presentation she is giving about the cemetery’s history at Charlton House on Saturday. The Friends’ latest newsletter has the details:

    If you would like to hear more about the history of the former Blue Cross Cemetery, our Chair, Liz McDermott, will be giving a PowerPoint presentation for the Charlton History Society, Charlton House, Saturday 13th September, commencing at 2.30pm.  All welcome.

    I hear the presentation includes some great old archive photos.

    The Pet Cemetery originated in the Blue Cross Quarantine Kennels which started at the end of the First World War and particularly looked after service men and women’s pets. They provided accommodation for 123 dogs along with cats and other pets including guinea pigs. It later fell into disrepair, and the Friends were set up in 2012  with the aim of  refreshing the memorial stones, replanting the garden beds, improving the seating, installing bird and bat boxes and creating a wildlife-friendly environment.

    They’ve made some great progress on these objectives: old, untidy shrubs have been removed and hedges trimmed (revealing more memorial stones); the bird and bat boxes are up, and at least one of the bird boxes has had occupants;  and some of the stones have been cleaned up, with help from stonework professionals. There’s a “before” and “after” pair of photographs of one of the cleaned memorials below.

    The Friends meet at the cemetery on the second Sunday of each month to continue their maintenance and restoration work, and they welcome visitors and helpers. Their future plans include a full survey of the cemetery, educational visits, more planting and possibly a pet “memorial wall”.

    Pet cemetery Headstone - before

    Pet cemetery Headstone – before

    Pet cemetery Headstone - after

    Pet cemetery Headstone – after

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • hilly 7:03 pm on January 7, 2014
    Tags: , pet cemetery   

    Friends of the Pet Cemetery AGM 

    Headstone in the pet cemetery, Hornfair Park

    Friends of the Pet Cemetery AGM Notice

    Liz wrote to tell me about the Friends of the Pet Cemetery Annual General Meeting in a couple of weeks time. She wrote:

    “The Friends of the “Old Blue Cross” Cemetery are holding their first AGM on Tuesday the 21st January at 7.30pm at Minnie Bennett House, 164 Shooters Hill Road, London SE3 8RW. Our membership is growing slowly and we would welcome any interested members of the community to come along and learn about this “Secret Gem”, what has been achieved so far and the plans for the future.

    The agenda includes: an introduction to the former Blue Cross Cemetery, and its history; the achievements of the FoPC so far, and their future plans;   Finances;  Gardening Activities; and the  election of the Committee. The meeting is followed by refreshments, a raffle and a quiz.

    The Pet Cemetery is a calm, secluded area tucked away near Hornfair Park,  studded with poignant memorials to pets from the 1930s and 40s. Its entrance is near the pedestrian footbridge over Shooters Hill Road next to the Fox Under the Hill pub.

    Headstone in the pet cemetery, Hornfair Park

    Headstone in the pet cemetery, Hornfair Park

     
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