Fisk’s patent explains that ‘the air maybe exhausted so completely as entirely to prevent the decay of the contained body on principles well understood; or, if preferred, the coffin may be filled with any gas or fluid having the property of preventing putrefaction.’
Beside the towering shadow of Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe church, sits an unassuming patch of grass, surrounded by trees and overlooked by an impressively unchanged 1980s bar.
In its relatively small grounds, it boasts ten listed buildings and monuments ‘including Grade II listed catacombs, an Anglican chapel, with the gatehouse, non-conformist chapel and the Egyptian Gateway, each listed at Grade II.’ It also holds the largest single grave plot in the country, holding the bodies of 96 poor residents.
In the centre of Birmingham, flanked by pubs and fashionable wine bars, stands a dinky cathedral and a handful of sporadically placed headstones.
Taphophobia. The fear of being buried alive. The subject of nightmares since time immemorial. With today’s modern medicine, there’s little chance of these fears becoming reality, however, for many centuries, it was a very real threat.
Arnos Vale is simultaneously a working cemetery, a heritage site, a habitat and a veritable art gallery of historical remembrance.
The 11th February marks the 157th anniversary of Lizzie Siddal’s death. While not exactly a household name, she is an icon, a muse, an artist and a beautifully tragic figure of the Victorian art world.
Plastic flowers may last longer, but discolour and weather over time and similarly must be replaced. However, Victorian ‘Immortelles’ (from the French word for ‘everlasting’) offered a more lasting floral graveside option.