Londoners once bought train tickets to travel to the City of the Dead On November 13, 1854, the London Necropolis Railway…

strangeremains:

Londoners once bought train tickets to travel to the City of the Dead

On November 13, 1854, theLondon Necropolis Railway Station opened its doors. Like Charon ferried souls to the Underworld in Greek mythology, the London Necropolis Railway carried the corpses to Brookwood Cemetery, known as London’s city of the dead, which was 25 miles away in Surrey.  Brookwood Cemetery, the largest burial ground in the United Kingdom, was an aggressive solution to London’s grave shortage of the 19th century.  

London’s buildings and streets sit on top of layers of dead bodies-Victorian graves on top of medieval graves on top of Roman graves.  When London’s population more than doubled the early 19th century, the number of city’s corpses started to surpass available burial space within the city.  The shortage of graves soon caused sanitation problems and a contributor to the outbreak of disease.   In response to this crisis, the Parliament passed the Burial Act of 1852 that banned new burials within London.  Luckily England’s railway boom in the 1830’s and 1840’s coincided with London’s problem of limited cemetery space.  

In 1852, Sir Richard Broun and Richard Sprye proposed purchasing a large tract of land for a cemetery in Brookwood near Woking in Surrey, for the Brookwood Cemetery or the London Necropolis.  Broun and Spyre did some macabre math and determined that with a death rate of 60,000 people each year, they needed at least 1200 acres for the London Necropolis.  This would allow close to six million individual graves and would take more than 350 years to fill.  Because Brookwood was about 25 miles from London, Broun and Spyre planned to use the London South Western Railway from London to Woking, built in 1838, to connect the deceased and mourners to the future cemetery.

The proposal was approved by Parliament in 1852 and the London Necropolis Company  (LNC) was formed to manage construction of the railway station and the London Necropolis.  The LNC purchased a considerable 2000 acres for the Brookwood Cemetery near Surrey. But Brookwood Cemetery stood out for its policies as well as its size.   The LNC was forbidden from using mass graves for the poor, so no matter how destitute the deceased was they were still allowed the dignity of a separate burial. The cemetery was also one of the few that accommodated people of all faiths including Muslims and Sikhs.  

In London, LNC leased land for a private station from the London South Western Railway, near Waterloo station on Westminster Bridge Road.   The original London Necropolis Railway Station was a three-story brick structure lined with ornate gates and a not-so-subtle “Necropolis” sign on the roof.   Operational from 1854 to 1902, it housed a ticket office, a mortuary, chapels, and waiting rooms.  

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In 1902, the station was moved to permit the expansion of the Waterloo station.  The London South Western Railway relocated the London Necropolis Railway Station to a four-story building at 121 Westminster Bridge Road. This new station, opened from 1902-1941, had a ticket office, LNC offices and boardrooms, mortuary, storage rooms, waiting rooms, and a chapel.  

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The London Necropolis company sold three classes of funerals: first class allowed a person to choose a specific grave in the cemetery and a permanent memorial; second class allowed a person to choose the area for the grave and the right to place a permanent memorial for an additional cost; third class funerals were paid for by parishes and bodies were placed in graves reserved in an area reserved for that parish.   Mourners attending first class funerals had separate waiting rooms, while mourners attending a third class funerals were assigned communal waiting areas.

The London Necropolis Railway and Station closed after the building and its tracks were devastated during a German air raid in 1941.  The station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road was converted into an office building and the “London Necropolis” sign was covered.  

By the time the London Necropolis Railway closed in 1941 it had ferried more than 200,000 bodies to the Brookwood Cemetery.  Brookwood Cemetery is still a functioning cemetery and accommodates different kinds of burials: woodland, green, and cremated internments.  

References:

London Necropolis Railway. Transport Heritage.  Retrieved from: http://www.transportheritage.com/find-heritage-locations.html?sobi2Task=sobi2Details&sobi2Id=862

Arnold, C. (2007).  Necropolis: London and its Dead. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.  

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner…

booksactually:

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore, professore dottore Eco, what a library you have ! How many of these books have you read?” and the others - a very small minority - who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”

—from The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Michael M. J. Fischer, ‘Ethnography for aging societies—Dignity, cultural genres, and Singapore’s imagined futures’ (2015)

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from the latesthttp://www.orbitaloperations.com/ newsletter bywarrenellis
(viafuckyeahdarkextropian)

Preparing signed copies of my hand assembled “Mono No Aware” book for shipping to LOOK3 Photo Festival. If you can attend, come…

Preparing signed copies of my hand assembled “Mono No Aware” book for shipping to LOOK3 Photo Festival. If you can attend, come by! There’s so much going on… not in the least, dear friend @davidalanharvey has a fantastic exhibit of three of his works there – “Tell it like it is”, “Beach Games” and “Haenyeo” (all books, no less!), @panosskoulidas is releasing his first book “Death in Venice”, and the EPF 2015 winners will be announced plus almost all @burnmagazine books will be available on the spot…. it’ll be a big party I assure you 😊 #look3 #burnmagazine #epf2015 #fujifilm #tellitlikeitis #beachgames #haenyeo #deathinvenice #photobooks #allfunandgames #mononoaware by antonkusters (via https://instagram.com/p/2t0P2eCWlx/)

Histories’ shadows, ghosts, and specters are always present in the tangled political maneuverings of Southeast Asian…

“Histories’ shadows, ghosts, and specters are always present in the tangled political maneuverings of Southeast Asian nation-states. The elderly, often silenced, are among the keepers of these stories, the quotidian and lived realities coursing beneath the nationalist propaganda used by power holders to justify their “national interests” or “national security.” Ancestors’ graves are places for the fading and ever more haphazard retellings, particularly in Singapore, where graveyards are steadily being removed, producing legacy ghosts that not frequently, but also not infrequently, are said to cause bulldozers used in new construction to break down, requiring the rites of Taoist priests to smooth the way (e.g., Comaroff 2009).”

Michael M. J. Fischer, ‘Ethnography for aging societies—Dignity, cultural genres, and Singapore’s imagined futures’ (2015)

While cutting graphene sponge with a laser, they noticed the light propelled the material forwards. That was odd, because while…

While cutting graphene sponge with a laser, they noticed the light propelled the material forwards. That was odd, because while lasers have been used to shove single molecules around, the sponge was a few centimetres across so should be too large to move.

The team placed pieces of graphene sponge in a vacuum and shot them with lasers of different wavelength and intensity. They were able to push sponge pieces upwards by as much as 40 centimetres. They even got the graphene to move by focusing ordinary sunlight on it with a lens.

Spacecraft built from graphene could run on nothing but sunlight (viaiamdanw)

An incomplete list: No more diving into pools of chlorinated water lit green from below. No more ball games played out under…

“An incomplete list:
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No more countries, all borders unmanned.
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No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

Emily St. John Mandel in Station Eleven

The technological construct of identity and the social construct of identity are different and have different implied social…

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http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/swan20150519
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