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Press Release - 07 June 2006

University Centre helps Widcombe celebrate its buried history

Two events at the annual Widcombe summer festival will this year be dedicated to unearthing the buried history of the area’s burial grounds.

The aims of the events, sponsored by the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS) at the University of Bath, are to raise awareness of the historic significance of Widcombe’s Abbey Cemetery, and to promote the cemetery’s role as part of the local community.

“The natural beauty and historic importance of Abbey Cemetery is not widely known,” said Tony Walter from CDAS, who will be hosting the two events.

“We hope the events will help the local community develop a stronger understanding of the issues surrounding death, dying and commemoration.”

The Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath is the UK’s only centre devoted to study and research on the topic of death.

The Centre furthers social, policy and health research, provides education and training for academics and practitioners, enhances social policy understanding and encourages community development.

The two events are:

Monday 12 June 2006 - Widcombe’s hidden burial grounds
The parish of Widcombe has at least nine burial grounds, only two of which are still in use as burial grounds. What has happened to the other seven? In fact, all but one are being put to creative but very varied uses. This evening walk led by Tony Walter of CDAS is always a sell-out, showing local residents corners of their parish they didn’t know existed and revealing how old burial grounds can become assets rather than liabilities to the community. (Sold out.)

Monday 19 June - Abbey Cemetery and its designer
John Loudon What Brunel did for the railways, John Claudius Loudon did for England’s cemeteries! Tony Walter of CDAS gives an illustrated talk on the extraordinary man whose mid 19th century textbook virtually single-handedly changed the face of the English cemetery. But Loudon himself designed only three, of which the most picturesque is Bath’s Abbey Cemetery. Loudon’s story contrasts with the sorry and overgrown state of the cemetery today.
The talk will be held at Paragon School, Lyncombe Vale. It begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost ₤4 including refreshments

Full details are available on the Widcome Association website (see related links).

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