The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 10 Burial Grounds

St. George's Churchyard Garden

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One of the best-arranged of these old East End graveyards is that of St. George's-in-the-East, near Ratcliffe Highway. It is kept up by the Borough of Stepney, having been put in order under the direction of the rector, Rev. C. H. Turner (now Bishop of Islington), at the expense of Mr. A. G. Crowder, in 1866. The tombstones have for the most part been placed against the wall, or left standing if out of the way, as in the case of the one to the Marr family, whose murder caused horror in 1811. In the centre stands the obelisk monument to Mrs. Raine, a benefactress of the parish, who died in 1725. The whole of the ground is laid out with great taste and simplicity, and is thoroughly well cared for. The flowers seem to flourish particularly well, and the borders in summer are redolent with the scent of old clove carnations, which are actually raised and kept from year to year on the premises. A small green-house supplies the needs of the flower-beds. The superintendence of the garden is left to Miss Kate Hall, who takes charge of the Borough of Stepney Museum in Whitechapel Road, and also of the charming little nature-study museum in the St. George's Churchyard Garden. What formerly was the mortuary has been turned to good account, and hundreds of children in the borough benefit by Miss Hall's instruction. Aquaria both for fresh-water fish and shells, and salt-water collections, with a lobster, starfish, sea anemones, and growing sea weeds are to be seen, and moths, butterflies, dragon-flies, pass through all their stages, while toads, frogs, and salamanders and such-like are a great delight. The hedgehog spends his summer in the garden, and hibernates comfortably in the museum. The bees at work in the glass hive are another source of instruction. Outside the museum a special plot is tended by the pupils, who are allowed in turn to work, dig, and prune, and who obtain, under the eye of their sympathetic teacher, most creditable results. The charm of this East End garden, and the special educational uses it has been put to, shows what can be achieved, and sets a good example to others, where similar opportunities exist. A less promising neighbourhood for gardening could hardly be imagined, which surely shows that no one need be disheartened.