‘Upright and respectable’
Pass Camberwell New Cemetery – or pop in, if you’re a fan of graveside architecture; this place is still fully in use. George Cornell is buried here – the East End gangster famously shot by the Kray twins in the Blind Beggar. The area is of course heavily associated with the Richardsons - the connoisseur’s gangsters of choice. Forget all that Krays hype, these guys were the real deal. Another overlooked aspect of south-east London life.
After paying your respects, head towards Nunhead Cemetery. Anyone seeking a pint-or-toilet stop can call in at the Waverley Arms just before we reach the main gates.
Wooded paths in Nunhead Cemetery
Nunhead Cemetery deserves its reverent reputation. As one of the Magnificent Seven Victorian London burial grounds, it is one of only two south of the river, and (have you noticed a theme yet?) is definitely the most under-appreciated. It has been aptly called an ‘elegant wilderness’. Gothic memorials, overgrown paths, the glorious riot of nature amid the staid sobriety of the dead – this place has it all. Walk, loiter, photograph and meditate as long as you like, this site could take a day’s walk on its own.
The railway line crossing
From here, cross Kitto Road to enter the southern section of the park. Lined with stately period houses and on a definite incline, its respectable and orderly air is only partly dented by the controversial skate-park construction activity on its eastern fringe. There’s a pond, a children’s playground, a statue (2008) commemorating Equiano, and a basketball court. This is a neat and respectable park with a Victorian ethos. Very Brockley, in short.
The Equiano statue