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Cross Bones Graveyard

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Monday 7 February 2005 5.52pm
I notice that for the second year running the Cross bones graveyeard has been nominated for a Blue plaque.

I am intrigued.

There seems to be someone, perhaps someone who lives next door to the site in question, obsessed with preserving the patch of concrete in the name of 'respect for the dead'. There have been fly-posters and ribbons on the wooden hoardings at the site (corner of Sothwark Street / Redcross way) for years.

Is this a case of NIMBY (Not in my Back Yard) - or a genuine regard for corpses? What do we think?

Personally I wish they'd build on the site asap - there's nothing more depressing than a concrete wasteland in the heart of the community. I say - stuff the dead, what do they care?
Monday 7 February 2005 6.14pm
I think there is more than one person involved with the campaign for any redevelopment to include some open space and memorial to those formerly buried there.

But here's something about the stuff that gets left at the site (from: )

>John Constable does a regular ritual at 7pm on the 23rd of each month at the site of the Cross Bones graveyard in Southwark. I think you'd be interesting in the Southwark Mysteries, if you don't know about him already and this is how I've written the event up for the SE-London blog:

>"John Constable is Southwark's shamanic poet, singer of songs and teller of tales of the lost history and magic of London's outlaw borough. If my memory serves me correctly, John was talking through Southwark as the Jubilee Line extension was being dug below him and as the excavation encountered the Cross Bones graveyard, a site for paupers, prostitutes and other outsiders. As a skeleton was unearthed, the Goose, the goddess of outsiders, aspect of Isis and genius loci of Southwark contacted John and began singing her songs through him and his colleges in the Southwark Mysteries.

>The focus for John at present is to leave a shrine on the site of the Cross Bones for the individuals interred beneath. London transport and other greedy developers are attempting to build an office on the site so, at 7pm on the 23rd of each month, John and others go to the gates of the site on Redcross Way to commemorate those buried there.

>John says:

to honour the souls of the outcast dead, the prostitutes and paupers buried there...
to sing the songs of the Goose and Crow...
to perform our own (syncretic not dogmatic) inclusive rituals...
to bring our own offerings - ribbons, flowers, feathers and other totems...
to tie them to the gate, adding our personal sigils to the self-transforming shrine that has appeared...
to envision the memorial garden that is already taking root, despite the
best efforts of the would-be developers...
to reclaim magic, mystery and true community in the heart of our city...

>(after which we all head off to a convenient watering hole to shoot the breeze, conspire with our higher selves and see how the spirits move us). The shrine has recently gained some extraordinary totems, including a piece of stone from the wall of Jerusalem, willow wreaths (for protection), a wand (once waved in through the door of 10 Downing Street during presentation of an SFC petition to reform the draconian laws that punish working girls and boys), and John Crow's 50 year old teddy-bear (with the >straw spilling from the seams) bound with ribbons of power… at recent 23rd gatherings, magic has occurred...

[Lang Rabbie adds] There's a separate debate about what should happen to all the bones excavated from the site, and apparently currently held by the Museum of London. Should they be held to assist research into the history and evolution of disease, or given a reverent reburial somewhere?
Monday 7 February 2005 10.24pm
a park would be fantastic. We need the space, and yet another development will add nothing to our area imho

and John Constable is a great character, as Rabbie's post suggests
Monday 14 February 2005 1.17pm
I understand the land was designated to be used for facilities to support the building of the 'Thameslnk 2000' viaduct, should it ever happen - the same use it was put to for the Jubilee Line construction. The opposition campaign to the office scheme which manifested itself in all the black and white posters around the site was, I believe, orchestrated by someone who lives in the Ragged School on Union Street.

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