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Cemetery Archives: Mill Hill Cemetery
Congratulations to the City of London, Croydon, Westminster Hanwell, East Finchley, Gunnersbury, Margravine, Mill Hill and Wood Green cemeteries, who have been awarded a Green Flag for 2011. City of London was also named as a Green Heritage Site. My favourite green burial site, Epping Forest, also won a Green Flag.
Green Flags are awarded by Keep Britain Tidy, to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country, judged against eight criteria, including being welcoming, safe and secure, well-maintained and - delightfully - having a marketing strategy in place (for those who don't know, I wear a marketing hat when I'm not wearing a cemetery hat).
Congratulations to London's cems winners - all of whom also won a Green Flag last year. Let's see a few more London cemeteries joining them next year.
Mill Hill is another cemetery immaculately kept by Westminster Council. Originally known as Paddington New Cemetery, it was opened in 1936 when Paddington Old Cemetery, a.k.a. Willesden Lane Cemetery (are you following this? there'll be a test at the end) became full. It's a bit too late to have any very impressive monuments; grey stone slabs are the norm here. The chapel is certainly worth a look though; a huge modernist ediface in dark brown brick, you'll need a very wide angle lens to fit it all in.
The other must-visit at Mill Hill is the Dutch National War Memorial in Great Britain, containing the graves of 254 Dutch service personel killed here during WWII. Large memorial stones commemorate another 180 names, and the site centres on a large bronze sculpture of a dying man by Cor van Kralingen. The same statue appears on Dutch war memorials in Rotterdam, Norway, France, Austria and Germany.
Elsewhere, there are many RAF memorials, as you'd expect so close to Northolt, and the highly-decorated grave of singer Billy Fury.
Visiting: Mill Hill East tube station and then the 221 or 240 bus to the end of Milespit Lane.
Hello to the nice lady who offered to take my picture with Billy's grave!
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