St. Dunstan’s, Stepney

I had always assumed that the churchyard of St. Dunstan’s, which I walk through nearly every weekend, was a creation of the post-war, when I thought the tombs would have have been moved to allow for the erection of temporary prefabs. But I have just learned from a tweet by Alice Rawsthorn that I was quite wrong. The churchyard closed for burials in 1854 and the tombs were moved between 1885 and 1887 to allow for landscaping by Fanny Rollo Wilkinson, who, after training at the Crystal Palace School of Landscape Gardening and Practical Horticulture, was appointed honorary landscape gardener of the Metropolitan Parks and Gardens Association, as well as working for the Kyrle Society which brought beauty to the lives of the poor. I will look at it differently in future, as a Victorian amenity rather than a bit of slum clearance.

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2 thoughts on “St. Dunstan’s, Stepney

  1. Camilla FitzGibbon says:

    Over a hundred Burial Ground Gardens were laid out in London and nearly all of them survive (preserved from development under the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884). The original aim of the Metropolitan Public Gardens, Boulevard and Playground Association was to provide ‘recreation and breathing room’ in the most densely populated parts of the Metropolis. Fanny Wilkinson worked on 75 gardens for the MPGA, her work recorded in the maps and reports held at the London Metropolitan Archives. She also designed the garden for the Ironmongers’ Almhouses (Geffrye Museum) for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and became the first female principle of Swanley Horticultural College, where Sylvia Crowe and Brenda Colvin trained

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