Blake Memorial Cross

Margravine Cemetery has two listed buildings, four listed memorials and two Commonwealth War Commission headstones marking the graves of two holders of the Victoria Cross. Not bad, eh?

One recently listed memorial eluded me. There is a small photograph of it in the Friends of Margravine Cemetery newsletter that showed me what I was looking for but I just couldn’t find it. In the end I cheated and asked the Secretary of the Friends for assistance. It is not at first sight particularly noteworthy; a simple granite Celtic cross.

Blake Cross, November 2017.

It commemorates eleven women and two men who died just ten days before the end of the First World War in an explosion at Blake’s munition factory in Wood Lane, near Wormwood Scrubs. The inscription is hard to read.

TO/ THE/ MEMORY OF THOSE WAR WORKERS/ WHO/ DIED/ FOR/ THEIR/ COUNTRY/ IN/ THE/ EXPLOSION/ AT/ BLAKE’S/ MUNITION/ FACTORY/ NOVEMBER/ 1918/ (Names)/ ERECTED BY HENRY FOREMAN O.B.E. M.(…)/ MAYOR OF HAMMERSMITH 

Henry Foreman was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hammersmith North after the war and was knighted for “municipal and local services”. He too is buried in the cemetery.

Foreman memorial, November 2017.

The Blake cross is a touching but simple affair situated in a quiet corner of the cemetery away from other graves. Rather more prominent is this Celtic cross erected to the memory of the first Mayor of Hammersmith, Thomas Chamberlen.

Chamberlen Cross, November 2017.

Chamberlen entered local politics in 1872 as a member of both Hammersmith Vestry and Fulham District Board of Works. By the time of the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith in 1900 Chamberlen was known as “the father of Hammersmith” and was unanimously chosen as the borough’s first mayor. He served two terms from 1900-1902.

I am fond of the cemetery for its memorials, its history, its flora and fauna. Now that it has re-opened for burials I rather think it is where I would like to be interred. Perhaps a headstone of Kilkenny marble like my great, great grandmother buried on San Michele in Venice. The Friends of the cemetery are drawing up guidelines as to what headstones are acceptable so I must put in a word for Kilkenny marble. Or maybe a Celtic cross like this one at Monasterboice? But smaller.

Celtic Cross of Muiredach

 

3 thoughts on “Blake Memorial Cross”

  1. Was Thomas Chamberlen of Irish decent, considering the Celtic cross?
    CODA: A memorial cross of the proportions at Monsterboice would not be so elephantine for a larger than life character such as your good self. Perhaps you may pen your epitaph presently if you haven’t done so already.

    1. No info on TC’s ancestry but there are a lot of Celtic crosses in the cemetery, so maybe it was fashionable? Simon Raven wrote his own epitaph:“he shared his bottle – and, when still young and appetising, his bed”. I’m not thinking of writing my own, although I did write an alternative one for Simon Raven:

      A man of letters ahead of his betters.
      His pellucid style sometimes tinged with bile
      So much more droll than that old fool Powell.
      Impecunious, morally dubious,
      But how frightfully sad to lose such an adorable cad.
      “Cast a cold eye”, if you remember your Yeats,
      Now he too is among the greats.
      Just a stone remains on which is graven
      Simon Arthur Noël Raven.

      I admire Yeats’s detached, self-composed epitaph and really Lady Foreman could have done a bit better for her husband. Seriously, I think epitaphs on tombstones are slightly ridiculous today.

  2. The late great comedian David Tynan O’Mahony, more commonly known as Dave Allen had a favourite;

    ‘ Under this sod lies another’.

    Imo, funnier than Spike Milligan’s.

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