Monday, 18 July 2011

The Journey of Life and Death ....

Seal of the London Necropolis &
National Mausoleum Company.
Its Latin text translates to 
"A good life and a peaceful death".

... and if I threw in our old neighbourhood, a Member of Parliament, the railways, a necropolis, a golf ball or two – we could be in for an interesting ride.

This post is really something I never thought I’d write, as I had absolutely no idea about this facet of the west Surrey heartland and I just had to laugh at the incongruity of it all.

As I write the British Open Golf Championship is being played at a very wet and windy seaside links course at Sandwich in the garden county of Kent – visitors being brought down by a special direct train from London.

Sandwich, Kent: Links Golf Course - 2011 c/o The Open
Times have changed dramatically in the past 170 years – the railways have really opened up the heartland of England ... before that the ride by horse, carriage or navigable water was slow and dangerous.

The railways gave us freight, markets, termini, junctions, tourism and holidays by the sea ... and commuting – people started to travel to jobs in the towns and cities.

As far as London was concerned the railways offered more – a way to live in the country: to ‘de-populate’ London – and, more importantly at the time, - a final solution to the problem of London’s dead.

Brookwood Cemetery
London’s population had risen from just under one million people in 1801 to almost two and a half million in 1851 ... cholera, smallpox, measles and typhoid were rife: what to do with the dead?

It was proposed to purchase an area of ground so distant as to be beyond any possible future extension of the Capital by using the emerging technology of mechanised land transport to construct a befitting gathering place for the metropolitan mortality of a mighty nation. 

Little did they know that within 100 years the area was on the outskirts of greater London, and by 2011 definitely within it ... times they have changed.

The place purchased was Woking Common, approximately 23 miles west of London known today as Brookwood Cemetery (Heathrow Airport is 15 miles west of London).  We lived just to the north and would occasionally shop in the village, there was a good baker’s I recollect; nearby was a golf course, Worplesdon, where we learnt to play. 

Country Lane and Hump Back Bridge
Occasionally we would play the left-right-straight-on game – our mother would take us out in the car ... to get us out of the house and change our tune! ...  we would each select whether we should go right, left or straight at each junction ... being kids we had no idea where we’d end up. 

There were plenty of small country lanes with bridges and tunnels to navigate and amuse us for a while ... including the route to Guildford, the county town, where we shopped on special occasions and I took my driving test a ‘few’ years ago!

We live and learn – but I had no idea I’d be writing about The London Necropolis Company – the organisation formed to run and administer the cemetery, as well as the spur railway line.

The 1800s really were the era of the ‘scientist’ – engineers, cartographers, naturalists, explorers, printers and publishers – so many new trades, new data to be recorded and noted.

An LSWR M7 class locomotive of
 the type used on the London
Necropolis Railway in its last
decade of operations 1930-40s
One of these – George Bradshaw (1801 – 1853), a cartographer, printer and publisher, specialised in railway timetables at a time when ‘time’ wasn’t yet standardised, and when there were so many railway companies any cohesion for travel or freight was nigh impossible.  Bradshaw changed that .... the Bradshaw Timetables came into existence.

I suspect his name would be lost in the milieu of those times, but with our propensity today for history, Bradshaw’s Tourist Handbook has enabled them to be brought back to life through his journeys across the length and breadth of Britain.

The only known complete set of Bradshaw’s Tourist Handbook has been leant, by Robert Humm and Co, Transport Bookshop, to Michael Portillo, a former Member of Parliament turned historian and presenter – for his BBC series entitled “Great British Railway Journeys”. 

Bradshaw died of cholera while in Norway, which I’m sure curtailed further publications of the Handbook during his lifetime.  It would make a fascinating read before all the history of the last two or three hundred years gets lost in the mists of time, or buried under layers of concrete or tarmac – so I hope it gets republished.

The journey I caught the tail end of ... was the Brighton to London one before its continuation through East Anglia on to the ancient port of Kings Lynn in Norfolk.  This was one of the railway lines where those first commuters could travel into London ... and in this instance to Waterloo Station.

Waterloo is where the fun starts – our childhood London terminus – we would travel from Woking to have a beef burger at Burger King (one of the first fast food chains to get to the UK) and to see some comic films at the station cinema (Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Tom and Jerry etc) ... exciting times!

Then we’d get on the train and go home again!!  Well it kept us amused – going out was a real treat .. and beef burgers were – well ‘luxurious deliciousness’ to us kids!!

First Class entrance to the London
Necropolis Railway at Waterloo; the
ornate gates were originally made
for The Great Exhibition (1851). 
I’m sure like most children we’d have been thrilled to know The London Necropolis Railway had, at Waterloo Station, its own entrances for the first class, second class or third class dead ... the mourners too had their own class of ticket ... think of the ghoulish games we could have played.

If we could have seen that logo – I’d have had nightmares for many a long night ... for those of you who are crime or mystery authors ... you may find some interesting information here that you could draw on for your characters or scenes ...

So this was our neck of the woods as we grew up – in the lee of the largest cemetery in the world, with its own specially commissioned railway line ... under or over which we regularly passed on our way to play golf – two clubs were in close proximity to the railway line ...

Third class coffin ticket, issued
between April–September 1925 
... those savvy leisure golfers learnt fast .. and used to ‘jump’ the Necropolis train for a cheap trip into the nether regions of the country to play at one of the local courses, before catching the last ride back ...

A railway journey I never expected to post about ... our history is peppered with interesting fragments of life that can resurface many years later ... who would have thought a necropolis would tie in so well with the railways, golf, a Member of Parliament and us ... I enjoyed this ride into and out of the past ...

Dear Mr Postman – my mother has a cold-infection, but she is comfortable and we patiently spend time with her ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


MorningAJ said...

I love the Michael Portillo series and enjoyed that particular episode, not least because I used to live at the other end of the line in Kings Lynn!

However, I do take issue with him on a number of points. As a former canal historian I would argue that "freight, markets, termini, junctions" arrived before trains, as a result of the canal network being opened 50 - 100 years earlier.

Good post though!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi AJ .. glad you like the series too - interesting you were/are a canal historian ... one day I would love to learn more.

You're right .. I was swamped with info and realised I didn't want to make the post too historical and rather make it a little more personal .. at one stage canals definitely featured in my little brain! but got omitted prior to posting .... sorreeeeee!! Oh yes - I see I put in navigable waterways .. but not the fact that they too opened up the country .. by linking the river systems ..

Glad you enjoyed it though .. and good to see you - have a great week .. Hilary

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Have you ever been a tour guide? You'd make a great one. :)

I always enjoy your posts that reach deep into the history of Britain and its people.


Karen Lange said...

I agree with Susan, I think you might make a good tour guide! Your personality sparkles, and I think it would shine through. I would go on one of your tours, that's for sure. :)

Have a wonderful week!

Better is Possible said...

Wow. Who knew? Thanks for an interesting and informative post. There is so much in this world to learn about. How exciting!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan .. no - never! But thank you for the thought ..and am so pleased you enjoy the read - I actually enjoy the un-digging then tying things together: just so glad everyone seems to enjoy them.

@ Karen - many thanks .. I duck and dive around the interesting snippets of information and I hope amuse too - fancy a trip to the cinema with a burger for lunch, then become a train spotter for an hour or two? Delighted to have you along - that would be fun ..

.. and you and Susan would get to come over here?!

@ Carol .. there sure is .. and the learning doesn't seem to stop with each passing birthday - so pleased you had a lovely time.

Lovely seeing you Susan, Karen and Carol .. thanks so much .. Hilary

Patricia said...

Oh Hilary your right, left or straight game sounds marvelous I am sure my bike riders would love that game now.

So many cities here have grown up around the massive cemeteries too but now we can calculate and formulate what we will need in the future - and cemeteries us up valuable food resources...I think this will be growing issue around the plant
Glad to hear your mum is resting well...patience is a virtue of great proportion
Thank you for you kind words on my new business launch - greatly appreciated

Empty Nest Insider said...

I think you've inspired many a vampire author for his/her characters to book a coffin ticket on the London Necropolis! Although most of them are capable of providing their own transportation! Excellent and informative as always! Julie

Connie Arnold said...

Enjoyable and informative post, Hilary. I agree with the comment Susan made about your being a tour guide. I think you would be a great one!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
What I especially like about your blog is your highly entertaining and very informative postings. And this one is no exception.
Truly amazing how you tied in railways, golf, a Member of Parliament and your good selves. Incredible you did not go off-track. Thanks for this and now I've got this weird urge for some kind of burger from Burger King.
Cheers, Gary :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Necropolis - now I know how it received its name.

How interesting that a ride that got you Burger King has a such a rich history.

Soul Dipper said...

You really have pulled all of these threads into one very intriguing article, Hilary. Just great. Having grown up in the country, I never thought about how much fun it would be - in a city - to do a Left/Right game. My mom would have loved it because she thoroughly enjoyed getting lost.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patricia - I'm sure your bike riders probably already play it - but there's lots of trails that they must have fun riding ... our little English lanes gave us 'many and often' choices!

The challenge of our ever increasing populations throw up many issues - so often only resolved for the short term.

Thanks for your support re my mother .. and I do hope your new venture goes well ..

@ Julie - so pleased you seem as bemused as I was about the Necropolis line .. there's lots more interesting snippets to read!

About providing their own transportation - you're right .. but it's the characters trying to keep up who needed the railway!

@ Connie - many thanks - we'd have to be in time machines .. touching down here and there!

I guess I am a (bedside) conversational tour guide - i.e. opening doors to new thoughts about different aspects of life ..

@ Gary - good to see you and many thanks for the support - and am delighted you enjoyed this very eclectic post .. historical but not too deep ...

Looks like you were thinking about a midnight feast?

@ Theresa - it's a Greek word for a cemetery with structures above ground .. but I was surprised to find it was used as a name in the 1800s .. a little ghoulish, especially with the coffin ticket!

Thankfully we didn't know - and just enjoyed the occasional burger at Waterloo station ..

@ Amy - good to see you ... it amazes me that we grew up in the country with tiny English lanes (I suppose old animal trails) .. and now: that area is within con-urban London.

I can see in Canada .. with your wide open spaces .. you'd have main roads without the lanes .. but in the new cities you could always play .. however those motorways/highways are a little treacherous - once on never to get off!

Thanks Patricia, Julie, Connie, Gary, Theresa and Amy .. great to see you and enjoy the rest of the week .. Hilary

Sue said...

I love the coffin ticket and the logo is fantastic. It reminded me that my son and I used to play "let's get lost" n the way home from kinder, wish I'd thought of left- right- straight ahead! Hope the wet, windy weather improves.Sue

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. yea - just uncovering the story was good enough for me and I thought everyone would love it too - + the extras from the good old days!

It's lovely today - the rest of the week .. not so sure - more rain and wind ...

We had such fun calling out left, left, left .. going round in circles .. etc .. sometimes Mum would over-rule us!! We bounced around .. wondering what choice would come up next!

Glad you enjoyed it - enjoy the week .. Hilary

walk2write said...

So sorry I've been MIA lately. It's good to come back and join you in the midst of such fun memories.

First, second, and third-class tickets for the dead? Well, it's no worse than the custom here of reserving certain sections of cemetaries for the more well-to-do "clients" and their lesser brethren.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi W2W .. not sure what MIA is (?missing in absentia) - but no worries .. you've been moving inland and buying exotic plants!

I know - same as the railway fares in those days .. but you're right the customs do go on .. usually one for them and one for us!

Good to see you .. and glad you enjoyed the read .. Hilary

Unknown said...

What a fun childhood you had! I can't believe they buried so many people there in Woking but I guess for health and safety, that was the wisest course to take. I would like to travel your route someday.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clarissa .. not a million - but only 250,000 by the time the cemetery closed ... but very spacious placement of the graves - now a great deal of it is a nature reserve; though the crematorium is in use.

The powers that be - got their numbers wrong for the population and the dead .. fortunately the engineers for the London sewers were made of stronger stuff - and incredibly the London sewers will survive for another 100 years ..

It'd be great if you'd get over here .. but that is concreted over .. cheers must go - visitors arrived .. Hilary

Helen Ginger said...

Thanks Hilary. I love hearing about foreign (to me) lands and times. Some people do not want to venture into cemeteries. That doesn't bother me. I grew up in a Southern family where adults (with kids in tow) thought nothing of visiting passed relatives.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Helen .. glad you enjoyed the story about the cemetery .. our old graveyards are pretty amazing, as too are the old cemeteries in the cities ... I went to a new crematorium in Cornwall, which I thought was very nice ..

I can understand your own family and others visiting their relatives .. I saw that in South Africa too .. we don't tend to do it here so much ...

Thanks for the visit - good to see you Hilary

M. Reka said...

Thank you for an interesting and informative article. Love it!

All the best
Marinela x x

Liara Covert said...

Love how everything draws attention to the immortal soul. The mind imagines distractions to shift your attention from what the heart knows. As opinions and assumptions about death fall away, what remains is the next great adventure...

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Hilary,

What a fun read. I hadn't heard of the left-right-straight on game, but does that ever sound like a lot of fun. Even as an adult, there are many roads I've no idea where they lead. Next time we're out and have extra time, I'm going to give it a try.

((Hugs)) to you and your Mum. I hope she gets to feeling better real soon. xo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marinela .. good to see you .. many thanks

@ Liara .. you're so right life and death intertwine .. the area is now mostly a wildlife one .. life above utilising the earth below .. and where will that next adventure start - going left or right, or straight ahead .. the game of life continues ..

@ Barbara .. delighted to hear. I don't know if my mother made it up .. but we had fun! Especially with our tiny lanes.

I guess you do have lanes and trails you use quite a lot .. I hope your adventures lead you to interesting new vistas and places to visit!

As you mention in your blog - these can be printed out and used to stimulate others .. my intention - certainly my uncle loved them, and my mother instigated the idea when we were conversing so much four years ago ...

I too hope my mother feels better - she was a little awake yesterday .. and seemed more comfortable - thanks for your thoughts and hugs!

Cheers Marinela, Liara and Barbara .. wonderful to see you - Hilary

Misha Gerrick said...

That's so interesting! I knew that London expanded fast, but I never thought how it would have affected burials.


Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary! Trying to get caught up on my blog reading. Christmas in July at my blog has been keeping me busy. : )

Have to say that this was another interesting post, as they always are.

Anonymous said...

Now that was a very interesting history. I do love history and London has lots of that. The posers that be probably did not advertise the Necropolis Railway but oh the stories that could be told. Or simply made up.

That is a lot of growth in such a short period of time. And with little to no city planning in many areas while existing neighborhoods are overrun with people, the diseases would kill a lot of people. New York was much the same. Too many people flooding in. People crammed into apartments would throw their excrement out the window into the alley (look out below!)

Linda said...

It is interesting the way rail travel changed the country and city. Time changes things too. What seemed so far away at one point becomes closer and closer with each passing year and the growth of technology. Thanks for yet another peek into life in another land.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Misha - thank you .. it's sort of obvious - but we forget all the ramifications of our rapidly expanding life - the Wiki link makes an interesting read.

@ Susanne - yes you've certainly been busy with Christmas in July - in South Africa we just used to eat .. so much easier!! But good for you for the daily posts and daily give-away competitions during July - I know I won one .. delighted!

Good to hear you enjoyed your read.

@ Stephen .. thank you! The railway had closed by the time we came along .. but it'd have been 'fun' to know the station was there - I met someone today, who lived near there!!

You're so right the stories that could be told .. or embellished over time. A couple of novels have been written - see the Wiki link.

Big cities only 150 years ago were pretty unhealthy places .. I understand exactly what you're saying re NYC .. garde l'eau ... not very nice to think about ..

@ Linda .. the railways certainly changed travel, then the planes .. so much change in such a short time - that you're right it just creeps up on us! Technology - now that's another thing ..

Thanks Misha, Susanne, Stephen and Linda glad you enjoyed the glimpse back into time over here in the little country. Cheers Hilary

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...


You write the most amazing articles filled with history and charm. I just read about Wimbledon as well. As tennis players, we've followed it for years. It's our favorite tournament to watch. I keep hoping for a Brit in the finals but it hasn't happened in my memory!

I have a question. Do you know anything about this company? A friend's sister was contacted by them "out of the blue."
Quarto Publishing Plc
The Old Brewery
6 Blundell Street
N7 9BH


Ella said...

Hi Hilary,
This is fascinating; I can see why you are a bit creeped out~ Yes, history is full of side trails and all kinds of odds n' ends~ I enjoyed this journey; you transported us to another time n' era~

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Monti .. I've replied re the Quarto thing via email - they're publicly listed on the Stock Exchange - so should be ok.

Thanks .. Wimbledon's history is good - and a Brit to win would be just wonderful .. we've had lady winners though - the last being Virginia Wade in 1977.

@ Ella .. glad you enjoyed the railway on the cemetery side! History and our lives are so many stories .. glad you enjoyed it ..

Cheers Monti and Ella .. a good mystery of the railway line! Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

Yes, a coffin ticket is ghoulish! But death was so much more present until very recently in our history. Glad it isn't now.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

So sorry your Mum's got an infection. I've got one too.

I do love when you post about things that remind me of my childhood and places I've been, but barely remember. It always makes me smile and then makes me miss England. :)

Anonymous said...

So have they built around the cemetery now? I enjoyed reading your remembrances. Isn't it interesting what we're not aware of as children? But some things never's still a thrill to go for a drive and a burger! We don't get out much-- haha!
You know, I can't remember the last time I saw a Burger King, they used to be everywhere but not so much anymore. Do they offer barley water as a beverage over there? :) Love 'traveling' in time on your blog!! ~Scarlett

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa .. you're right there - death was all around wasn't it. Me too - glad we don't see it usually.

@ Sharon .. thanks - she's a little better, but the new doctor is lovely and making things easier.

Thanks - funny to think of you remembering those early childhood days here .. you too would have gone into Waterloo I guess. The lanes are the things that I remember so well - always a way round a jam .. tiny lanes with grass growing up the middle .. and the smell of hay, or glorious clear colours - green, blue and white ..

Sharon - hope you feel better soon .. I caught Mum's - but am out the other side now!

@ Scarlett - suburbia has grown up round it ... the cemetery is now a wildlife sanctuary, while a small part is in use as a crematorium.

I thought I'd mention Burger King as they're down the pecking order now .. McDonalds etc taken over!

Barley Water is a 'strange' liquid component - it's used in soups a lot, but forms a base of a fruit squash, which we dilute to make a long drink ... it's difficult to explain - as you can gather!!

Barley is considered a health food .. and was and is recommended to help people recuperate .. via soups - I think ..

Most people drink fizzy drinks over here, coffee, tea etc when out - and water ... (unless out having a drink - beer, wine etc) ..

Lovely seeing you Theresa, Sharon and Scarlett .. cheers - Hilary

MunirGhiasuddin said...

Greeting Hilary,
Lovely and informative post as usual. I read it yesterday, but did not write a comment as there was a lot on my mind. I have come to terms with the reality that I am just one person and there is a lot to do. I am not going to let dangers for kids effect my brain.
Coming back to your blog, my husband wanted to take me to Brighton to the sea side, but there is only so much vacation time. Thanks for the blog:)

Talli Roland said...

I did some research into the Necropolis Railway and Brookwood when I was writing my London tour guide, and I found it fascinating! Great post, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Munir .. many thanks for coming back to comment. I'm glad you realise what you can do .. and things that aren't yours to worry about - so good to have life in balance of some form - well done.

Sorry you missed the area - I live about 20 east of Brighton in another town by the sea - Eastbourne .. it's a lovely place to see - there are some other posts if you have time? to look around!

@ Talli - I can't believe I've never heard about it!! A chap whose wife is in the Nursing Centre used to live just there .. small world sometimes!!

Incredible to think you that you investigated the Railway too .. and looked into Brookwood .. something to natter about when we meet up - amongst many other things!

Cheers to you both - Munir and Talli have good Fridays .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

I'd never heard of the London Necropolis Railway before. That's fascinating. And I wouldn't have heard of Bradshaw had it not been for Michael Portillo's lovely programme. I was never sure about him as a politician but I think he makes a wonderful TV presenter.

Sara said...

Golfers catching rides on the Necropolis train to get to a golf course. That's determination.

My boyfriend loves golf and we watched as much of The Open as we could. The weather was horrific!! I was really pleased that Darren Clark won.

I said this before, but I love you pull up the most unusual things to teach us about. Learning about this railroad was interesting. I can't believe they had different entrances and tickets. I guess it makes, but's different.

Great post and thanks. I hope your mom is better and that you finding "Hilary Time":~)

Ellie Garratt said...

Mr. G and I love the Michael Portillo series, and set it to record so we can watch it after work.

Thank you for another fascinating post!

Ellie Garratt said...

Now this is a post close to my hubby's heart. He loves railways! We both hate it when people refer to 'train stations' instead of railway stations :O)

Jannie Funster said...

I don't know about in the U;.K. but here the B.K. milkshakes are soooooo yummy.

Speaking of necropolis, there was a human bones store on "Storage Wars" the other night. Yick!

Bones in your backyard, Bones in your backyard... :)

But enough of that!

There was a time in this fair land when the railway did not run, long before the white man, and long before the sun. I think that's how the Gordon Lightfoot lyrics go, but I've messed them up a bit I think. please forgive.


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The more you teach me about your beautiful, fascinating country, the more I want to be there. One day.

Thanks, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros .. I'm like you .. but I do hope the Bradshaw handbook is re-published .. it'll make a fascinating read. I agree with you though - Michael Portillo is very engaging as a TV presenter and on the radio too - has a good voice.

@ Sara .. the golfers were on to a good thing .. it was considerably cheaper! Wasn't it foul over the weekend .. and wonderful that Darren Clark won - determination through adversity there.

Many thanks - I always think of you when I'm combining things together - so as I ramble on - know you are right up there at the forefront of this little brain!

I'm sure the passengers wouldn't have been happy getting on a train with a few coffins .. so separating the railways made sense - back in the mid 1800s.

Thanks Sara re Mum - things are not easy at the moment re my mother .. 'Hilary Time' is in the future.

@ Ellie ... I don't watch it all (the series) and like seeing the repeats when they pop up - and think with the book it'd be an interesting watch and read.

@ Madeleine .. ah the railway buff - yes the changing face of the English language .. I do too .. but we're accepting so many changes to our language too! I find myself using things - that I'm sure weren't around before the War.

@ Jannie .. you're so right .. as kids we loved milkshakes - and they were a treat too. We used to make cold coffee (shakes) at home .. and have them when we were playing tennis .. on the long hot days: yes we did get them!

What's Storage Wars .. we're having another series of Cold Cases - where they examine the bones from 2,000 or earlier years ago - buried in strange ways. Amazing what they can find - Stirling Castle is the post I wrote about one of their programmes.

Now - you see you have me too - song lyrics and me don't mix! Gordon Lightfoot I know .. 'bones in your backyard, bones in your backyard' - I recognise something very similar rhythm-wise .. where from I have no idea!!

@ Joylene - me too I'm coming over to your lake! Glad you enjoyed it ..

Good to see you all - thanks so much for visiting .. Jannie and Joylene - my thoughts will be with you tomorrow ... Hilary

Susan Scheid said...

I've been looking forward to reading this properly all week, and only now have I had the chance. What a fascinating read--and such a set-up in your very first lines! Different classes of tickets even for the dead, imagine that. And in this day of digital storage, it would be beyond criminal if Bradshaw's Tourist Handbook is not preserved.

nutschell said...

What a great post! I was particularly intrigued by the London Necropolis Train! You and I should go on a tour one day as we both seem to be history geeks!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan .. thankyou! Delighted you enjoyed it .. and the 'preface lines' ... I couldn't believe what I found out about the railway - let alone it existed at all!

I'm sure they'll do a reprint of Bradshaw's handbook after this tv series .. even if it's in four parts (which I believe the original is one of a set of 4 parts) .. it'll be fascinating to read. The book is definitely preserved - unless Michael Portillo leaves it on a train!!

@ Nutschell .. thought you'd be fascinated by this particular railway line!

I agree - we are both so interested in history and travelling with you - would make me learn so much!

Thanks Susan and Nutschell - enjoy the weekends .. Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

Oh the trains. I love getting on one when in the UK. We do not have them here in Cyprus. My father unhooked the very last steam train out of Parkeston Quay in Essex. Then we had first class travel for years because of his job, I am so glad I never had to buy a coffin ticket!

Thanks for another informative post, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Glynis .. I can understand you missing the trains - the small link trains are the best - and the ones that run along the seaside. Your father must have had an interesting job .. I'm not sure what an 'uncoupler' of a steam train would be called?

Lucky you having first class travel .. we were relegated to 2nd class! But me too - very glad I haven't had to buy a coffin ticket.

Glad you enjoyed it - and glad you have some power and a more settled life because of it! Cheers - Hilary

Anonymous said...

There are so many fascinating things in the past. My eye caught your seeing Tom & Jerry. That was my favorite cartoon when my sister and I went to the movies in the Fifties. You had to sit through MovieTone news and then a cartoon. I was always impatient to get past them. The only cartoons I liked were Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny.

Thanks for this fascinating journey, with all of the wonderful photographs, down memory lane in your neck of the world.
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Symphony of Love said...

Hi Hilary, hope your mother is already feeling much better from the cold.

With regards to the Korea Got Talent, Choi Sung Bong is already in semi-final. I have posted his semi-final performance in the same post too.

Wellington Artist said...

I love the history lesson, very fascinating stuff! It does make sense to have the burial grounds far from the heavily populated city but it's the dedicated train that gets me.

I also wanted to thank you for your comments about my party planning. And you are right, after 17 years of doing it for a living I better have it right by now! It's funny, but I felt a bit of a let down after the party was over. Although I do not miss the stress of catering at all I guess I do miss the planning, prepping and excitement of the parties. I suppose I will just have to entertain more myself!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann.. so good to see you - Tom and Jerry - we used to love them .. my father would hire 8mm or 16 mm films with cartoons from London and we'd laugh ourselves silly! Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton .. still wonderful!

We had Pathe News .. which I've always rather liked seeing .. but I'm sure I felt like you 'please get on with it' .. so I can watch my films .. and Bugs Bunny .. and Popeye the Sailor Man ..

Glad we enjoy the same things - now I sit transfixed!

Delighted to see you - have a 'cool' weekend .. sounds very hot there .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ BK .. sadly my mother isn't too well - but we'll see how we go - thanks for the thought - appreciate that.

I just thought that he must have won or would have a recording career by now - his voice is so wonderful .. but thanks for letting me know. I'll check ..

@ Sandy - it was far from the city - but not now and was round the corner from the house (a few miles!) - that got me too - a whole railway line dedicated to the dead.

Pleasure your food always looks so delicious .. that sounds an excellent idea .. entertaining more yourself - especially the artists of the world - would be so interesting ...

Cheers BK and Sandy - thanks so much for coming by .. Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

A Necropolis Railway Company is a strange thought indeed. I'm one who believes that though they are interesting places, cemeteries are a huge waste of land and the practice of burying the dead--at least in the way we are now accustomed to doing--will eventually be a thing of the past. Stacking bodies in mausoleum structures--even skyscrapers--may make more sense. Cremation is probably the best option though.

Railways played a major role in opening up the United States to those who wanted to settle in the interior part of the country. They are still play a significant role in transporting goods.

Tossing It Out

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee ... I agree you're right - but peoples' perceptions through time have changed, and I'm sure will follow your thoughts in due course.

The concept of the dead is interesting .. 100 years ago - your whole family would be photographed with the dead relative .. times change!

At least Brookwood is mostly a wildlife sanctuary now ...

The railways certainly opened up the continental land masses .. and provided bases for air travel when it was developed. Certainly transport plays a huge role too ...

Good to see you - cheers Hilary