An Easter Walk in Golders Green Crematorium

Dear Readers, I have visited Golders Green Crematorium several times now, and every time I am amazed by how peaceful it is. On this bright spring morning we saw exactly three other people, and everything looked at its most fresh and new-minted. On the way in, I was pleased to see a fine array of charging points for electric vehicles, and my husband was very impressed that they seemed to fast-chargers pulling 22 kilowatts. I did wonder if some of the more progressive funeral companies are switching over to electric hearses, which would be a very fine thing.

Electric charging points in the crematorium car park.

Every time that I visit I end up taking the same photos of the ‘cloisters’ of the crematorium building from different angles. I find the symmetry most pleasing, and there is always something new to see in the memorial plaques. All those lives encapsulated on a piece of stone the size of a piece of A4 paper at best! I think we should return to the Roman habit of including a summary of someone’s entire life on their headstone. How interesting that would be! Though clearly we would need more room in our cemeteries and crematoria, which would be a problem.

Many of the trees, including this cherry, were in blossom, squirrels were growling at one another, a green woodpecker yaffled from a distant horse chestnut tree, and the great tits were yelling ‘teacher, teacher’ from all directions.

I was delighted to see a ‘new-to-me’ weed too – this is spring beauty, or miner’s lettuce, and it might be familiar to some of my North American readers, because this is where it comes from originally. I shall say no more as it is likely to be a Wednesday Weed at some point soon.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia perfoliata)

The pieris were also in flower, and very fine they were too.

A pair of ducks were keeping a very low profile in the pond…

And look at this wonderful magnolia! These are such ancient plants that they were around before there were bees to pollinate them, and so they relied on beetles instead. The very earliest magnolia plants could date back to 95 million years ago, which plonks them in the Cretaceous period, so the flowers could have been munched upon by dinosaurs, and soared over by pterosaurs. Quite a thought.

The crematorium building itself contains a columbarium, which has niches into which the caskets bearing ashes can be placed. It has two chapels, the west chapel which seats 140 people and the east chapel which has room for 45 people. The building and grounds are owned by the same company that own East Finchley Crematorium, and is in the same Italianate style – on a sunny day you could briefly convince yourself that you were in Siena.

East Finchley crematorium building

Well, after all that wandering we were in need of sustenance and a sit down, and so we decided to see what the café in the tiny local garden centre was like. The answer is ‘very nice indeed’, so if you’re in Temple Fortune and the weather is nice enough to sit outside, I recommend this place highly. I had smoked salmon and avocado on rye-bread, and there was enough for two hungry people, so be warned.

Clearly you can also go on a floristry course here, which would be fun!  You can find all the details here – just scroll down to ‘Hampstead Garden Suburb’ for details of the shop, the café and the flower school.

And now it’s back to the Open University to do some more writing about Alzheimers, and to consider my final project on my other course, which will be on pollinators. More soon!

2 thoughts on “An Easter Walk in Golders Green Crematorium

  1. Phil Buckley

    Referring to your comment suggesting a ‘life summary’ on a memorial or gravestone, a few years ago I read about someone who’d thought up the idea of putting QR codes onto small stainless steel plates on gravestones which would link through to a website page showing their life story and photos. I thought it was a brilliant idea at the time and determined to write my own obituary and leave instructions with my family although, despite the ‘writing on the wall’ looming ever larger as I get older, my children still refuse to talk about such things despite all the evidence so far that no-one gets out of this life alive! I still haven’t written my obituary, but, spurred on by your comments, I might now get around to it.
    I’d not heard about the scheme since but, searching just now brought up several results, two of which are below:
    Of course, in common with so many new technologies, in a few years time, QR codes will have been forgotten in the mists of time (our local library has just stopped renting out films on DVD as it is, apparently, old tech’ now and ‘everyone’ streams their films!? They still have books – just) and so it will end up as weird and indecipherable dots on a metal plate to future generations.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, it always cheers me to read it as the first thing when I get up in the morning.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      This sounds like a wonderful idea, Phil – when I visit a cemetery or crematorium and see all the headstones, I wish that I knew more about the people as individuals, with their very different experiences of life. And I’m sorry that your children can’t contemplate talking about death – it seems to me that being able to listen to someone’s thoughts on what they’d like to happen after they’ve gone is a great gift. Maybe they’ll come to realise this as time goes on.

      And yes, I sympathise with your concerns about tech and the speed with which it changes. Who has a video recorder these days? And remember those photos that developed in the camera? Fingers crossed that QR codes last at least a bit longer….


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