Thursday, June 11, 2009

swing




I've worked in Greenwich for nearly 10 years now and have wandered a fair bit around its back-streets. But I only discovered this park last June. (and I can't for the life of me remember if I've posted about this before.... sorry if I have).

It was once a cemetary - part of it still is - and the ancient gravestones have been "archived" around the edges of the park, making the green space usable for the local community.


Even some of the pavement is lined with headstones.


I found this unexpected juxtaposition of life and death quite startling, particularly in the play park. Strange but rather lovely - the presence of death in the midst of life, in a strikingly matter-of-fact manner.

I took these photos only just about a year after my mother had died, and of course I thought of her.

She was a primary school teacher, and I thought she'd have liked to be buried here, just at the edges of the playground, behind the swings - watching and keeping watch.

27 comments:

Robert said...

Life and death, just different sides of the coin. I love how the two played out in these photos, especially the last.

What else is left? Oright, WORK! :-)

xo, r

PS. Say, am I the first commenter? Yay!

Dumdad said...

Gravestones on the pavement - extraordinary.

Ronda Laveen said...

Wow! What a way to recycle death and life. I am glad that the stones weren't destroyed. They are so striking against the landscape, both in shape and subject. Great take on TT.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

A strange juxtaposition - in a way - in another way, as Robert says, Life and Death, two sides of the same coin. Very evocative!

Brian Miller said...

wow. life after death seems possible here...all the young life in the park surrounded by those that have come before.

Leah said...

That's incredible and strange, I've never seen anything like it!

Though I'm amazed that they were able to disrupt a graveyard like that--the laws protecting graveyards, even or especially very old ones, are usually so strict...

Now my curiousity is piqued, and I just have to find out more about it!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wow! completely captivating fusion of life and death. a must see place when I come to london.

great pics!

willow said...

Fascinating! I wonder how they came to be there? Excellent pics.

The Silver Fox said...

Kind of eerie. Wonder what sort of mind came up with the idea!

Liza said...

This reminds me of the house I wanted to buy in New England. a 1930's gramble with an old cemetary right next door. Military man would not have anything to do with it. He had visions of our oldest running around the tombstones playing hide-n-go--seek with his new yet quiet friends...lol.

Fabulous pictures!

Wings said...

Wow - that is so interesting, and such a great way of mixing the old with the new! So glad they kept the stones, what a unique and beautiful park. Thank you for sharing that!

ArtSparker said...

Remarkable, The ancestral regard at the boundaries, and the last photo showing a defiant adolescent dialogue. And the winged seesaw in the last one, almost like the symbol for infinity.

Betsy said...

"strange but rather lovely"...that says it all!

Tom said...

this is a bit creepy...too bad about the graffiti

Steve said...

This is a cool reuse of space. I think people in the states would be way too superstitious to go for this!

The Clever Pup said...

that's excellent. I'm sure Edward Gorey would have loved to have a stone wall made of gravestones.

Too bad about the tagging.

tony said...

Hey1 I rember Those Places! Lovely To See The Old London i remember.Great Photos! Thanks

Akelamalu said...

I feel as though I shouldn't like what's been done with the headstones - but I do! :)

Rhonda in OK said...

your pictures are just great, so different looking from where I live.

Baino said...

Wow does that mean there are dead people under the see saw? Such a shame that vandals have graffiti'd the stones but pretty amazing spot.

Pam said...

So interesting! Can imagine some humorous ghost thinking "I tried all my life not to end up with my back against a wall - only to have it happen in death!!". Takes a while to get used to, but I think it works - better than being neglected. The graffiti is unfortunate, but guess that too, is a part of life and living.

Barbara said...

The interesting thing about cemeteries is they continue to be cemeteries even after taking new customers. I love the blend of life and death that a playground provides. It's such a realistic way to look at our existence. I'm sure if those souls continue to hang out around their gravestones they are amused by the children that enjoy their space.

Mrsupole said...

I just wonder where all the bodies are now buried. But this would be an interesting playground for kids to play in. I wonder how the parents explain it to them.

Sorry about the graffiti and lack of respect shown by the taggers. Maybe someday when they have passed away, someone will do this to their gravestones. At least I hope so.

God bless.

mum said...

It's an odd juxtaposition although, if space is at a premium, I suppose it's best used as a playground for the living. Still, I feel ambivalent about it all. I'm guessing, but it probably has a different feel in situ than it does as a photo.

subtorp77 said...

The dead watch over those at play,
And haunt those who would vandalise their markers, yes. One could hope....macabre...yet interesting...

e said...

Wow, too bad about the tagging. Interesting use of space. I won't go into what I once did in a cemetary, although it might make a good episode for the show Six Feet Under...

Betty said...

Just love those headstones lining the pavement. Great post!