Leigh Cemetery is a tiny cemetery I had the pleasure of wandering about during one morning of the last week. It was a strange experience to visit so soon after visiting a much different place at the weekend. I’d like to talk a little more about this place and my thoughts around cemeteries like this.
Leigh or Leigh on Sea Cemetery is located along London Road or the A13 as it heads towards Southend on Sea. It is accessed from this road but when I visited there was no vehicular access to the closed large gate and only a small gate which was only open slightly when I arrived but mysteriously bolted shut when I left. The perimeter of the cemetery is covered by shops on either side, with the playground of a school against one corner and the gardens of houses against the back. The pathways are almost non existent around the grounds with only a small path running along the centre clearly defined.
From what I can find this cemetery is now closed to new burials but I am unsure from what date this was from. There are a number of graves which are clearly badly damaged and either parts removed or left alongside where they originally stood. Unfortunately it also seems to be a bit of a dumping ground for people with various large items left on the edges including a child’s slide. Sadly I also came across a dead magpie while wandering which took me by a bit of surprise.
On a brighter note, there are 31 commonwealth grave memorials in this cemetery which are cared for and listed online. A few of the graves had fresh flowers and clearly were visited regularly, a tap at the main gate had water bottles left by that were used recently. It was a nice little wander on an early Autumn morning, there are some very different or interesting grave markers here that were pleasing to find and see.
It’s a shame that small cemeteries can end up this way, clearly not somewhere the community uses as a green space and somewhere people may even actively avoid. I noticed it seemed unusual that there were no benches or places to sit as I often like to do when I visit cemeteries and which are common in places like this. As I left the last photo I took was of a family grave with seemingly only one person interred at that plot. I couldn’t help but be left a little sad with the forlorn burial site I’d stumbled across.
What lovely but sad photos of the headstones. We should never forget that these commemorate people who lived before us and had lives just like us. Its a pit we let small cemeteries like this fall into such a state as it inevitable follows that at some stage in the future the site will be used for other purposes…
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