Lunchtimes in Bloomsbury: St George’s Gardens

 

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St George’s Gardens is tucked away, down a side street across the road from the Brunswick Centre. When you enter the gates and walk down a small slope, you walk into what initially looks like a normal, sort of narrow park. It’s only as you walk further into the space it becomes obvious that this isn’t a normal park but a burial ground. The space opens out either side and the path splits and snakes about following a route that, I assume, avoids the graves that were once there. The further into the gardens you walk, the more it feels like a graveyard. There are large tombs scattered about, one totally surrounded by iron railings. Another raised up on a red brick plinth. One of the more ornate tombs belongs to Oliver Cromwell’s Granddaughter. Most of the names and dates on the gravestones have worn away now. On the right hand corner surrounded by trees is a grand obelisk that pierces into the lower canopy of the nearby tree.

Running down either side of the boundary walls are planted borders and small trees. On lunchtimes I’ve seen the same man from the council digging and tidying it all up. Gravestones are pressed against the boundary walls, grown up the walls like ivy. The man from the council digs away at the ground right by them.

I sit on a bench opposite a cluster of tombs, eating my lunch as others do. I wonder how much they think about our surroundings. It must have been a long time since someone was buried here. Mourners won’t turn up to question how appropriate it is to eat my cheese sandwich near to their Grandmother’s final resting place. The grass is generally undisturbed but I do wonder about the graves down there.

I decide to walk to the other side of the gardens and exit a way I’ve never been before, just out of curiosity. I walk down a quiet back street towards Mecklenburgh Square. When I walk round the corner, one of the houses has a blue plaque to the poet HD who lived there.

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