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.
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.
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 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.