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Cemetery Archives: Hendon Cemetery
Hendon Cemetery was opened by the Abney Park Cemetery Company, but is now run by Barnet Council, who are to be congratulated on their excellent maintenance of the site. Hendon lacks many very spectacular monuments, but it's still a beautiful cemetery, well-planted with trees and shrubs which give it the feel of a country churchyard. North London's varied cultures are well-represented, with a large Greek section which spills over amongst the Chinese graves lining the western end of the main path. Here I saw for the first time the Chinese custom of leaving oranges on graves, and - very much not for the first time - the English custom of celebrating the football allegiances of the dead. They are, it seems, mostly Arsenal supporters.
Hendon Cemetery begins in spectacular style, with a half-timbered lodge and gothic-lettered sign post, a relic of its founding by the Abney Park Cemetery Company: it's now maintained by Barnet Council. Sadly, the inside never quite lives up to this beginning. Even the more imaginative monuments here are quirky rather than spectacular; the flint-built chapel complex is tidy and there is much evidence of grass-cutting, but somehow this seems to only fight against the rural feeling of the stream and extensive tree-planting and leave the whole place rather undecided whether it's a neat municpal park or something retreating back into woodland wilderness. There are, however, special sections set aside for Greek, Russian and Japanese burials, which are worth visiting.
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