150th Anniversary of Astwood - Forward - ' Our Quiet Citizens of Worcester' (Transcript Pg 1)

  • 22 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
  • Back

The majority of people living in Worcester have loved one's resting in Astwood, l myself have three generations of my family including my Parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents, and on my decease a further generation will be taking up residence making it four.

From a very early age l have always been interested in researching the inhabitants of Cemetery's when a way on holiday first sightseeing tour was to look for the ship wreck churchyard, or the small Welsh village whereby no child survived for over 30 years over the age of 5, so much can be learnt from past lives.

In Astwood we have a wealth of different people buried, including Sir Charles Hastings, Thomas Rowley Hill, Alderman Dingle, not forgetting members of the Elgar family but we must also remember the very sad stories like Baby Ryan or John Maggs who were buried in unmarked graves, through John's death so many people have found a life line at the John Maggs Day Centre, which was first opened 21st December 1985.

Astwood cemetery was created following a gift from William Laslett of over 20 acres of land back in 1858. More than 100,000 people are buried in the cemetery which with the recent opening of the new section the area covered is approximately 63 acres of ground.

Like any cemetery Astwood is not least of the peacefulness, even in a busy built up area, if you want a few minutes respite from the thundering traffic, the crowded streets you can always find what seems a magical haven, unreal like a fairy grotto, where you suddenly feel inclined to whisper instead of talk loud, and of course there is always the cool shade of an old tree on a hot scorching day. The illegible tombstone which over the years seems to have gone top-sided, the grave-mounds which have lost their shape all adds to the mystic magic of the past.

When strolling through the old part of the cemetery the tombstones implies neglect, but it is the very air of neglect that imparts to serenity nothing to do with commercialism or computers. They have defied the influence of progress as we are inclined to call the rat race outside the gates, and so the afford pleasurable  moments of quiet reflect. 

On entering the current part our loved ones which are immaculately cared for has to be admitted that tidiness is generally more helpful, if less romantic. So the next time you walk round the cemetery stop and look at that distorted headstone or the sign, which quiet often you will pick up that the meaning is meant for the quiet soul below, every person has a story to tell some bad some good, some rich some poor but one thing is a surety we all come into this world with nothing and we all leave with nothing.   

Pam Hinks

(Info/Research by Pam Hinks)