Scorned by every other graveyard? Welcome to Cross Bones
September 8, 2023 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Scorned by every other graveyard? Welcome to Cross Bones
Today I published PlenetSlade's third paperback book (Amazon link), and it's an updated version of my 2013 e-book telling the tale of South London's Cross Bones Graveyard. This tiny patch of unconsecrated ground just south of the Thames has sheltered the remains of London's most despised citizens for over 400 years. Today, it's a shrine to our own era's outcast dead, where thousands of people a year attend the monthly vigils created by a shamanic local writer and attach their own heartfelt offerings to the site's gates. It's one of the most fascinating graveyards in London, and a vivid lesson in what the poor of this city have always had to endure.

The past ten years at Cross Bones have been particularly turbulent ones, with its management transferring from the cheerfully chaotic Friends of Cross Bones to a registered charity called Bankside Open Spaces Trust. Unsurprisingly for two such different groups, they haven't always found it easy to work together. There’s much more public access to the site now than was ever possible before - which is great - but the price paid has been the loss of the old, wild Cross Bones. Developers, who were once keen to dismiss the site's’ historical significance, now aim to exploit it as a marketing tool for their luxury flats and stores.

The 60-odd pages I've added to the book for this new edition include an oral history of the past decade there, drawn from an epic round of brand new interviews with the site's key managers and most passionate campaigners. I've also added 18 of my own colour photographs showing Cross Bones' key features (La Catrina, the Suicide Shrine, the Mizuko Jizo statues etc) and many of my interviewees.
Role: Writer, photographer & publisher.
posted by Paul Slade (1 comment total)

The book's first full-length review is out.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:10 AM on November 30, 2023

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