Reflections on Mortality: Photos of Autumn in Brockley Cemetery


Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 1Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 2Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 3Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 4Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 5Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 6
Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 7Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 8Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 9Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 10Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 11Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 12
Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 13Autumn in Brockley Cemetery 14

Reflections on Mortality: Autumn in Brockley Cemetery, a set on Flickr.

The 55th photo set in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began exactly six months ago, focuses on Brockley Cemetery, one of a pair of Victorian cemeteries just down the road from where I live in south east London, and a visit I made as the sun was beginning to fall on a weekday evening in October, casting a golden light on the gravestones and on the wonderful trees that are part of the cemeteries’ attraction.

Located between Brockley Road and Brockley Grove, in the neighbouring area of Ladywell, the 37-acre site of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries (formerly known as Deptford and Lewisham Cemeteries) opened in 1858, and the two cemeteries were separated by a wall until 1948. They are now just separated by trees, and a low bank, but each has its own distinctive character. In fact, there is only one official entrance between the two cemeteries, which I didn’t find out until after I had visited Brockley Cemetery on many occasions, and which, as a result, was something of a Narnia moment for me (from the wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which was one of my favourite books as a child, along with the rest of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series).

Both cemeteries are nature conservation sites of great Importance and havens for wildlife, plants and wildflowers, and they are also hugely atmospheric, mostly consisting of old graves, with many parts of the cemeteries being overgrown.

I hope you enjoy this set. I have another set, featuring photos of winged angel statues from both cemeteries, which I took in March, before I started my project to photograph London by bike, after being inspired by the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who, and will post them when I get the opportunity, That might take a while, however, as I have yet to publish the photos from over 80 trips I have made in London over the last four months, as a result of which I have over 5,000 photos in 230 sets that I have not yet been able to make available, covering all parts of London.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

16 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Dejanka Bryant wrote:

    You just know when to take your lovely photos. Great camera too.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Aseea Mahmood wrote:

    Great photos

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Jo Larmore wrote:

    Perfect serenity & absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Dejanka, Aseea and Jo. Much appreciated. I think, actually, that this might be my Remembrance Sunday submission – for everyone, and not the mangled charade the government foists on us annually, pretending to honour the war dead while actually glorifying war. They are such disgusting hypocrites. If they really cared, they’d bring British soldiers back from Afghanistan.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    David J. Clarke wrote:

    Impermanence…useful reminder!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Great photos again, Andy…I’ve done similar with Nunhead Cemetery, that I’m actually more familiar with over the years. In true Goth style, I even have my favourite grave memorial to a woman called Elizabeth. I’ll hunt out the inscription of her epitaph laters… x

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, David. It’s terribly depressing that so many people are so venal and self-obsessed that they seem to have forgotten about mortality and impermanence.
    And Ruth, yes, I’m due a major visit to Nunhead Cemetery. I know it quite well. Perhaps not as well as you, but I’m sure I have Goth qualifications. After all, the Cure were my favourite band when I was 17 – at the time of Seventeen Seconds!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Goes quite well with your images too 😉
    “The Cure – A Forest”:

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher John Webster wrote:

    nice concatenation between dying season and headstones…

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    “Concatenation,” eh, Chris? That’s a big word for a Monday morning! I guess I’m feeling quite strongly the death in the air at this time of year, because I’ve been cycling so much, and can see and feel the changes very vividly.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Dhyanne Green wrote:

    Absolutely breathtaking.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Dhyanne. Lovely to hear from you.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Dhyanne Green wrote:

    Love your photographic perspectives – give outsiders a wonderful view of ‘your reality’.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a very pertinent comment, Dhyanne. Thanks again.

  15. Mike Guilfoyle says...


    Really good images of the cemetery… Maybe at some point you might consider exhibiting them in the Cemetery Chapel?


    Mike Guilfoyle
    Vice-Chair -Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemetery-Foblc

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mike. Have sent you an email!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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