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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb update of an important book
It's traditional to say that London's cemeteries are one of the more neglected areas of her history, the architectural delights and social history they contain being too often lost from the capital's tourist trail. I'm not convinced that this is true: in the decade or so I've been visiting and photographing London's cemeteries, there seems to have been a rise in interest...
Published on 17 Aug. 2008 by S. Bailey

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but...
I was a great fan of the third edition, and while the updates and expansions in this new edition are obviously extremely welcome, it's lacking one very important feature - an index of the cemeteries! While there's a numbered list lurking in the front pages, this has no page numbers, making it extremely difficult to find the individual cemeteries.
Published on 4 Feb. 2009 by Simon Crubellier


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb update of an important book, 17 Aug. 2008
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S. Bailey "will work for books" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
It's traditional to say that London's cemeteries are one of the more neglected areas of her history, the architectural delights and social history they contain being too often lost from the capital's tourist trail. I'm not convinced that this is true: in the decade or so I've been visiting and photographing London's cemeteries, there seems to have been a rise in interest in these wonderful places, with Friends' groups springing up to protect them, and really quite normal people confessing that yes, they too like to visit burial grounds.

This must be in no small part due to Hugh Meller's book 'London Cemeteries'. First published in 1981, it provided not only a history of burial practices in London, but a comprehensive guide to burial grounds, leading visitors not only to the famous Victorian sites like Highgate and Kensal Green, but also to the quirky and sometimes very personal monuments to be found in more out-of-the-way places.

Fourteen years after its last update, Meller's seminal work was due for a revision, and Brian Parsons has done a superb job. The text has been completely revised, taking more recent developments into account. The most important addition is that of dozens more photographs and illustrations, in many cases showing memorials which have been lost, stolen or vandalised and so can no longer be seen. The twelve new cemeteries added are mostly newer ones, and therefore perhaps not the most interesting when compared to the high Victorian delights of their forebears, but it is useful to have them listed for the sake of completeness.

This frankness about the more mundane elements of twentieth-century cemeteries was one of the things I loved most about Meller's original text: "There is little to be said for poor Eastcote Lane, it is small, modest and dull" and "[Chiswick New] is not one of London's most appealing cemeteries and must be the noisiest, set down in a water meadow sandwiched between an arterial road and a suburban railway line." Parsons continues this dryly humorous tradition, with such gems as Hatton Cemetery which occupies "a flat site beyond some enormous greenhouses", and Hillside which is "not a cemetery worth a detour".

If I have a complaint, it is about the physical book itself, which is quite incredibly heavy (my hardback copy is over 1.2kg). This is not a book to tuck into your pocket as you go exploring (get Darren Beach's guide for that), but it is a superb and complete encyclopaedia which no lover of cemeteries, London or history should be without.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but..., 4 Feb. 2009
This review is from: London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
I was a great fan of the third edition, and while the updates and expansions in this new edition are obviously extremely welcome, it's lacking one very important feature - an index of the cemeteries! While there's a numbered list lurking in the front pages, this has no page numbers, making it extremely difficult to find the individual cemeteries.
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London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer
London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer by Brian Parsons (Hardcover - 1 April 2008)
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