Letter: Difficult decisions about a grave problem

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Sir: I was appalled to read the article on West Norwood cemetery. Rather than demolishing Victorian cemeteries, maybe local authorities should take a closer look at them and learn a few lessons, for they are certainly much more tastefully designed than many of the soulless car parks for the dead, known as 'lawn' cemeteries (without monuments), which councils seem to prefer these days. One gets the feeling that some of these people would rather do away with memorials altogether; after all, they get in the way of the mower.

If councils persist in this kind of topsy-turvy attitude to cemeteries and memorials, maybe it is time a National Cemeteries Authority (NCA) was created to monitor and, if necessary, prosecute offenders, much as the National Rivers Authority does with our rivers and streams.

It could also encourage good design in the construction of new cemeteries or extensions. Most importantly, an NCA could promote a greater awareness of good memorial design, using native stones combined with the best in lettering and carving.

Perhaps then, in 100 years' time, people will look back on our own cemeteries with the same feelings we now have for those of our Victorian predecessors.

Yours sincerely,




4 November