Who says cemeteries are ‘dead’ boring? The tour given on Monday 13th June certainly wasn’t boring and was a real eye opener too. I had never set foot in the place before and was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully verdant it was with large specimen trees worthy of any arboretum.
Designed by Joseph Paxton of Crystal Palace fame we were met by an imposing memorial to him flanked by two conifers. To the left there is a pleasant ‘promenade’ while to the right there are hollows and rises from the original sandstone quarry in which the cemetery was placed.
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the various graves and took us on a tour of those with transport connections such as Starley, Singer, Brandish, Calcott to name but a few. Also buried here are mayors, councillors, aldermen and the founder of Coventry City Football Club!
We were also introduced to Francis Skidmore who was a silversmith of some renown making church plate and architectural metalwork including screens for Hereford Cathedral and lighting sconces for Holy Trinity. He also played a part in the Albert Memorial in London.
From the sublime to the ridiculous was the tomb of William Wombwell, a lion tamer with a travelling menagerie who tried to separate two elephants having a spat dying several days later from his horrendous goring injuries while the show was at Greyfriars Green!! Sharing the grave is his sixteen year old cousin who died the following year having been mauled by a tiger.
So how boring was that??
If any members would be interested in going on such a tour I am sure another one could be arranged.
Chris Warburton
Did you have a kite when you were a child? I never did but we bought a Peter Powell Stunt Kite when our children were small and had great fun getting it to whizz through the sky. Having been to the kite flying day last summer Ken decided to splash out on a new kite and bought a Brookite 150 Harrier Sport Kite which we duly took to Burton Dassett on July 17th.
The weather wasn’t promising but at least it was windy. This enabled most of us to get our kites skyward at some point, some with greater ease than others! I had a coming together with Phil Bissell’s Brookite which completely sheared both of our pairs of cords and sent my kite skimming off down the hillside. Sometime I must get some more cords and repair it.
Ken’s Brookite was quite amazing and more or less took off on its own but in the strong wind was quite a handful to control. We were hit by two showers, one fairly brief not long after our arrival, the other an almighty downpour which we had watched advance from the west, still being surprised by its speed and ferocity which had us all scampering for cover, retrieving whatever items we could.
While the sun was out though, we did treat ourselves to an ice cream from the friendly vendor who braved a very potholed drive to come across to us.
Phil Bissell persuaded an interested member of the public to judge the cars and choose which they would most like to go home in. This was Vaughan Miles Riley which was duly awarded the Kerbside Appeal Trophy.
I am not sure if the large assortment of teddy bears that came on the picnic enjoyed themselves but I know that all the humans had a great time and all for the minimal cost of the car park fee!
Chris Warburton
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