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Lucky Shakespeare wasn't buried in Southwark

28th April 2016

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The Bard's grave at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-Upon-Avon and below, the Chandos portrait

The story of the Camberwell Cemeteries: Evening Standard 10th April 2016

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This week is the 400th anniversary of the death of Southwark’s most famous resident, William Shakespeare.

 

Shakespeare’s Stratford headstone begs for his bones to rest in peace:

 

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forebeare

To digg the dust enclosed heare;

Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,

And curst be he that moves my bones

 

But Shakespeare would be spinning in his grave if he had been buried in one of Southwark’s three Cemeteries - Nunhead, Camberwell Old or Camberwell New.

 

Southwark Council led by Cllr Peter John plans to excavate every Southwark grave over 75 years old to sell off as ‘new’ burial plots (see Southwark’s 2012 Cemetery Strategy).

 

But families and residents have not been consulted. Southwark are already mounding over all public or common graves.

 

Already hundreds if not thousands of memorials, headstones and markers have disappeared to make way for stage three of the largest mass grave excavation and mounding project in UK history.

 

Councillors in Southwark, home of Shakespeare’s world-famous Globe Theatre, euphemistically call this ‘re-use’.

 

Why not call it what it is: digging up the dead for money.

 

History and heritage mean nothing to Southwark Labour.

 

“We are planning for the future not the past” stated Southwark Labour Cabinet Members recently.

 

Indeed they are. Whether the families of the dead like it or not. Residents have not been consulted and relatives are up in arms.

 

Save Southwark Woods begs for all the bones of Southwark’s Cemeteries to be allowed rest in perpetuity - as their families intended.

 

It’s also what William Shakespeare would have wanted.

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