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History dude

Trip To Abbey Lane Via Graves Park

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Tuesday I went searching for relatives graves at Abbey Lane Cemetery. I went via Graves Park. The first thing I noticed was a lot of dead trees in the park. Also there were workmen in the woods felling a lot of them as well as taking a lot branches off, back to the trunk. Now if this is to do with the spate of tree killing bugs that are around I don't know. Or it could be to do with general woodland maintenance, creating more light etc for new trees to grow, or a combination of the two!

The first image however shows I think wind action, with some afterwards pruning. The chap isn't a woodman, but he does add scale to the picture.

Not far away from this fallen tree is the Pack Horse Bridge.

Meanwhile the water fowl on the ponds are enjoying the warm weather!

The first picture shows a Swan on the island in the lake.

While I was taking the Swan a whole bunch of them came up close. so I could get these shots including the youngsters!

Ok now to Abbey Lane...

As the Sheffield Indexers have the location records for the graves. I marked the ones that I was interested on a map. In section G were 3 Benton's and 1 Appleyard (my Great-Grandfather). And just my luck not one could be found! The reason is that those left have suffered damage and the vast majority in that section are suffered the worse than any other part of the cemetery. C section next to it is better in comparison, but the one Appleyard grave located in is typical of those in G section. The photo below is a good example, it is a distant cousin, of mine, the death of a young child called Sally. As the grave dates to only 1962 I was surprised at the state of it. Clearly too painful an event for my other relatives to keep visiting the grave and correct the damage.

So if you have a relative in G section if the grave has survived you will be very lucky! :mellow:

It seems that most of the Appleyard graves (in Sheffield) of my family have been destroyed by either the Council or the elements :(

I was a bit lucky with some of my Benton relations.

Clearly the edition of more recent burials has help preserve the grave. And adds some new relations to my tree I did not know about ;-)

And another grave in fantastic condition and at 103 perhaps one of the oldest people to be buried there :o

Now to some stones that I found interesting, which I know Sheffield History Members will add lots of facts too. Sadly I spent around two hours searching G section that I didn't have time to have a full look around for more!

The first came up whilst searching another section for ancestors. Some of the stones are laid flat in the grass, clearing one away I found this little musical gem!

Lastly another a family grave recording the loss of a son killed in the First World War. Of course the body is still over there!

It's remarkable how these older stones last much better than more recent memorials.

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Really sorry that many of your ancestors graves are in such a state. My wife has a number there too , thankfully not as bad as some of yours. Also as far as I can see no one has ever photographed the gravestones there or recorded the MI's.

Most of my ancestors are in Burngreave. My gt grand parents grave was removed by the council asome years ago & the stone detstroyed in what can only be called an act of public vandalism. Their reason was said to be "health & safety" but the site is not overly steep so I can't see why. Anyway, why smash up the stone rather than keep it at the side of the cemetery as many are?

What a shame !!!!!!!!!!

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When these stones have all been bought and paid for surely someone should be paid compensation

for their vandalism ? Do they not inform the relatives before they begin their destruction?

And surely before the destruction of the stones they should be offered to the family as it belongs to them

not the graveyards keepers.

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I think the problem with most gravestones is the sheer weight of them. They look light, but one which had fallen over slightly so you couldn't see the inscriptions at Abbey Lane, I tried to move! Even with both hands I couldn't move it a centimetre! Never mind an inch. Over the years if the soil is poor quality or has subsidence, then a grave will fall to bits, just like that. There were plenty of notices on graves to say this stone has been laid flat for safety reasons too at Abbey Lane.

Sad to say the cost of burial is high. So the cost of keeping Cemeteries maintained must be high as well. Many of the graves will no longer have direct relatives to send notices to, as the oldest graves will tend to be the worst for wear. Also the Cemetery staff cannot really wait while some person is contacted, over a dangerous grave. It has to be sorted as soon as it becomes a hazard.

I do think that headstones with readable inscriptions on should of course not be removed from the Cemetery and placed somewhere where they can be seen.

On the subject of records....

I don't think you need to write down M.I.s anymore as digital photographer is faster and can be stored much better. Since you no longer need to develop film, it's cheaper too! Clearly the need is to take a digital image of ALL gravestones inscriptions, perhaps throughout the UK. It sounds like that could be really useful. It's something you could get Heritage funding for. Perhaps something that could be pursued at some point?

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People at Sheffield Indexers have been photographing gravestones or collecting MI's for many of Sheffield's cemeteries but Abeey Lane has not been done yet. Maybe it will be done soon.

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I take the point about digital photos, but how would you make them searchable?

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I take the point about digital photos, but how would you make them searchable?

Perhaps by using some optical character recognition software (OCR) if the image is good enough and the Iinscription still clear enough to allow it to work. This would convert the inscription into editable text that can then be pasted into databases and ade searchable.

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I take the point about digital photos, but how would you make them searchable?

Perhaps in the same way as Picture Sheffield does with there photos. Perhaps just the names and date and place is all that would be needed to search. Or you could just let people search the whole cemetery. I don't think their would be a huge demand to look at gravestones! So you probably wouldn't need a great deal of indexing, searching all the gravestones for one cemetery wouldn't take long. Shorter then walking around one does! Family history sites could even sell whole cemeteries photos on DVD/CDROM.

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I remember playing in Graves Park as a young child. It felt like a magical place, cool and dark and leafy. I remember the wonderful bluebells in spring, they were so beautiful. Even now, 50 odd years on whenever I smell wild garlic I think of the magical Graves Park

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I came to Sheffield to go around the cities cemeteries to look for my ancestor's I went to Abbey Lane and I was shocked with the state of the cemetery and how neglected it was I was looking for my 2nd gt grandmother grave armed with a map I thought no problem but where she is buried there is no headstone just smashed or broken headstones

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The problem for looking after graves is that most of them are taken on relatively short term leases and repairs cannot be undertaken unless the leases are renewed from the time they expired.

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My brother is buried there, but haven't been down in ages. I don't want to, really, looking at these awful scenes.

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People at Sheffield Indexers have been photographing gravestones or collecting MI's for many of Sheffield's cemeteries but Abeey Lane has not been done yet. Maybe it will be done soon.

There is a website called Findagrave.com there is a 'page' for Abbey Lane Cem. There is a lot of graves from the CWGC pictured . Some of the graves are in a bad state. The coffins collapse and the soil compacts over time and the weight of the stones move downwards

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