The beginning of March saw wonderful display of crocuses. Catkins on the hazel blow in the wind and the birds have paired up. There is some jostling for territory and loud song from the robins!
We have made a visit to the archives and found some interesting old maps of the three lodges. We were looking for drainage plans for the old buildings other than the lodges and made some useful discoveries which will be included in the next Friends' newsletter.
January- February 2013
We are still carrying out our monthyl bird walk. Our recent bird walk open to the public was on a very cold day but we were rewarded with an impressive list, including 2 coal tits, 2 great spotted woodpeckers and a green woodpecker 3 redstarts and a mistle thrush. We also conducted the RSPB garden watch where for one hour you record the maximum number of any species you can see at any one time. Our results were blackbird 5, blue tit 3, crow 7, feral pigeon 5, fieldfare 3, goldfinch 8, great tit 1, greater spotted woodpecker 1, long tailed tit 4, robin 3, wood pigeon 13, starling 4. We post up our sitings on the Friends' noticeboard at the entrance to the cemetery for those interested.
We have had our annual walk round with our borough's tree officer. A safety check was made earlier in the year and some of the most ailing trees will need to be felled. We have a high number of mature ash trees in the cemetery so are wondering what their fate will be if the Chalara fungus spreads throughout the country. At present the advice is to leave ailing mature trees but to take out young infected trees.
The beginning of November was very good for colour with some vibrant yellows and reds. The squirrels look well fed. The monthly bird count is now easier with no leaves on the trees. Mistle thrush, Gold crest, coal tit and Dunnock have been among the less frequent visitors. Numbers seem to be holding up well for other of the smaller birds including robins - bird feeders in neighbouring gardens are helpful.
Our membership is going well and we have now reached our target of 100 in this jubilee and olympics year.
We are planning more work on the history of the graves.
The usual watering was not needed this summer as there was hardly any summer to speak of - the Friends have had a quiet time!
The meadows remain largely uncut. The gardeners cut winding paths among the long grass making delightful walkways amongst the wild fowers and trees.
Autumn is now here. The birds are beginnng to sing again (August is the quietest month).
Members visited the cemeteries department at Fulham town Hall before its move to Mortlake. The huge leather bound books were quite amazing, with records faithfully kept since the cemetery's opening in 1869.
July 3rd we took the London In Bloom judges round, having entered the cemetery or a neighbourhood category award. The Council, being short of staff, did not enter this year but supported our entry instead. We prepared a portfolio for the judges of the year's events and await the outcome. We have however heard that we retain the Green Flag again this year.
July 8th Robert Stephenson gave a walk and (knoweldgable) talk about the history of the cemetery, with Ruth and Nathalie adding information about the biodiversity. 30 people attended which was very gratifying as it totally coincided with a rather famous tennis final. The group were lead through winding grass paths amongst the tall grass and wild flowers. The grass paths still remain green due to the earlier wet weather so it made it a beautiful walk.
This special year 2012 we planned more events. This started earlier in the year with a successful bird walk. The Friends then joined with local residents to have a jubilee picnic - probably one of the wettest spots of the already wet jubilee weekend, but we carried on as planned but in wellies. The hot food was crucial! The children's treasure quiz came back looking like paper mache but they managed to complete the entire course in pouring rain.
Some feel the cemetery looks at its best in spring and early summer. The areas of long grass are full of wild flowers and insects. The Friends will be doing some small horticultural jobs in addition to the daily tasks of the three groundsmen.
There are many birds still being fed by their parents - observable in our monthly bird count, including a family of mistle thrush at our last count at the beginning of June.
The central round bed is full of wildflowers (planted by the council last year) and with each set of plants flowering at different times, they will hopefully provide some colour throughout the season.
It was sad to witness the attack on George Fergusson in April - especially as such incidents are rare. He has our very best wishes.
This spring had one of the driest spells on record for that particular time of year. Many of the trees are now all in leaf,have been well watered these past weeks (and battered by high winds) but an eye will need to be kept especially on the new plantings. We have pruned the hedging and whips that we have responsibilty for. The groundsmen have done a big tidying job around the perimeter wall.
Our general meeting held at the end of March featured a 'break out' session where we divided into 3 groups: monuments and history; the green environment; events. Everyone had chance to contribute.
We had a successful start to the year with a bird count open to the wider group. It was early Sunday morning in the cold yet well attended. We were rewarded with the usual list but also 2 song thrushes and 2 dunnocks. The regular montly bird count is posted on the noticeboard - and we have now started entering the results (incluing those from the past) into GIGL - the London wide record of species noted throughout the capital.
Due to warmer weather in January, the newly seeded 'paths' are beginning to grow even in recent snow!
Some of our members are beginning to research the more interesting monuments.
The tree planting (February 9th) is part of the succession planting plan - replacing lost trees. Tree pollarding ( February) is also part of the ongoing tree-care plan for the cemetery and includes the enormous plane tree on the northern perimeter.
October - December 2011
We find our big noticeboard in the cemetery near the northern gates is proving useful for keeping local people informed of surveys and events.
One notable event was that the George Broad bronze memorial (George being often refrerred to as 'the man who cast Eros') got pushed over. We were able with the help of J H Kenyon to have it reinstated on its plinth. George Broad's great great granddaughter was able to be present for the occasion.
We have got back the results to our invertebrate survey and 54% of the species recorded in the summer were new to our records. The uncut grass has really benefitted the insect population and plant biodiversity.
We now have a planned succession for tree planting - starting with replacements for some of the recent losses.
The 'short cut' paths form the north gate to the chapel corner were getting very large and worn and muddy so the Council is reseeding the turf and have screened off the area.
We are looking very carefully with the Council at the buildings with a view to future plans. (West Lodge will be definitley be sold however).
Throughout thespring and summer there has been a wonderful succession of wild flowers in the set aside areas of unmown grass as each species reached its flowering season. The latest of note was the yarrow. Trees have also taken part by throwing up suckers through the grass! Poplars, Tree of heaven and Robinia have been the most enthusiasitic!
At the end of August we did a bat walk to find whether we still had bats. Using bat detectors we had a number of srtong calls in different locations from Pipistrelles. Next time we will do a more scientific count now that we know they are still present.
We continue to hear from families far and wide who have relatives buried in the cemetery - and sometimes interesting memorabelia connected with the burial. This is always of interest.
For those who pass through the cemetery regularly - we now have a big noticeboard in which will be able to publish our news and events when the key is delivered. For those further away you are always welcome to let us know what you would like to see on the website.
New botanical surveys are currently being done by the Council, and the Friends have also commissioned an invertebrate survey (August 1st). These should show any results from the continuing practice of leaving certain areas unmown.
July walkabout with the Council
We discussed buildings and soft landscape. We would like to see the beech hedge lowered so that all can see over it again - giving a less hemmed-in feel, and instead, a view across the cemetery.
The round central border had to wait a long time to be planted out as the plants were late in delivery. They are all native species.
These were the subject of a talk at the March meeting. There has been a drey count for the past 4 years. There has bee an increase in numbers over this time but less dramatically from 2010 to 2011. Squirrels are however stripping branches - particulalry of the limes.
There has been work on several of the trees February 2011. The planes at the hospital end of the cemetery have been pollarded; several dead trees have been removed etc. We hope in the future to have a plan for succession planting.
The chapel and other buildings
The council has made some minor repairs to the roof to make the chapel water tight. The tree that was knocking the tower has now been pruned. We would like to see restoration also of the characterful octagonal building and of the mausoleum near the west end.
You will notice a new line of very young hedging planted along the east wall backing on to Palliser Road planted by the Council as part of the biodiversity plan for the cememtery.
We are also watching carefully any die-back this spring especially at blossom time on Cotoneasters and cherries.
Work we have done ourselves has been to prune - with the help of the tree officer for the borough - hedging planted in the last few years and to weed around young plants and are currently mulching the hedge plants.
This coming summer we will schedule a bat survey.
The monthly bird count comprises all the 'usuals' including: crows, blackbirds, robins, blue tits great tits, long-tailed tits, jays, greater spotted woodpeckers, magpies, wood pigeons, ferral pigeons, wrens (though not in the January 2011 count), chaffinch, redwings (seasonal), gold finches. Less often we see ring necked parakeets, starlings, plus a few other occasional visitors such as green woodpecker, dunnock. We have not seen gold crests for a very long time.
The count includes a list of species and their numbers recorded at the same time on a particular day each month. We include those birds in adjacent gardens, but not those flying overhead or whose song we hear but without sighting. We take care not to try not to double count though the wood pigeons often move around as we walk round the perimeter - as if they want to be recorded several times! Flocks such as starling and redwing have to be as close an estimation as we can achieve.
As mentioned last year - we have many inquiries about graves of relatives. We would like to do more about collecting information about interesting graves - both about those buried here and about the monuments themselves. If you have information and old photos we would be delighted to hear from you - or if you would be willing to do some research.
The new bins are a great success!
We had a successful (AGM) meeting in November, finishing with an interactive debate over how to maintain a Victorian cemetery with its history of formal and sometimes adventurous planting, and at the same time foster biodiversity and a more informal planting.The round bed next spring will be more in the style of the latter; the council are planning a wild flower display.
Survey of the trees. In October we met with the principal arboricultural officer for the council looking at health of the trees. We would like to make a long term plan for replacement of diseased and aging trees.
Work in the cemetery. We had plenty of watering to do during the summer to maintain last winter's planting. The area of long grass was extended. Many positive comments were made about the wild flowers - the only downside was a backbreaking session pulling up suckers from the opportunist Ailanthus (trees of heaven) before they ruined the blades on the grass cutters.
The unofficial paths. These have grown up as short cuts. The Friends co-ordinated comments on thiis and forwarded them to the council. There were many passionate arguments for and against.
Birds. These are noted and counted each month - with records from 2005
Green Flag. The cemetery was entered successfully again this year for the Green Flag award. We had our on-site meeting with the Council and Quadron (who maintain the cemetery) to discuss management. The set aside areas were such a success last year that they were again extended this year.
The fencing behind the nearby hedge has been removed because the Council considers the beech hedge is now mature enough.
A Bird's Eye View of the Cemetery. This took place on 25th APRIL - a special event organised by Alan, one of our members. For 3 hours (punctuated by a bit of rain) we had a photography team, with their 30 metre mast giving us a photo view of the cemetery. The camera being at tree top level captured some unique views. With the trees just beginning to show green, it was an ideal time of year for such an enterprise.
Visit to Brompton Cemetery
A well attended tour of this famous cemetery
Plantings. Earlier this year we pruned some of the earlier plantings, particularly those inside the fencing. The mid-April and late May weather both made it necessary to water our new plantings. A good crowd turned up with buckets. At the April watering - all we could hear as we worked was birdsong (no planes!)
The December hedge planting went very well. Many people came so that we were able to get all the plants in very efficiently. We also mangaged to clear weeds from earlier plantings.
The group replied to Sustrans' proposal for a cycle route through the cemetery.
September 2009 - a people survey
The Green Flag award July 2009
We were delighted that Margravine Cemetery has been awarded a Green Flag award.
Council review of cemeteries - due for completion by november 2009.
The Council requested a review of its cemeteries, in particular 'To examine the role of cemeteries in their traditional context and explore their potential as a usable space'. This refers to their value as open spaces for all to enjoy, but also as a potential resource for new burials. The Friends of Margravine Cemetery made a submission.
The interpretation sign.
Look out for the Friends' interpretation sign near the round bed, showing points to look out for in nature, additionally the information leaflet box which is situated near the Barons Court entrance. Both attract an interested public.
Tree walk and Family Trail June 2009
Both events were organised by The Friends of Margravine Cemetery as part of the BBC Springwatch weekend.
The tree walk was very well attended despite the very unsettled weather. Gavin Simmons gave a knowledgeable talk, celebrating trees from all over the world, with some ideas of how they may first have reached Britain.
The family trail was also successful. Families followed an hour's long laid out trail of trees, flowers, gravestones and history. Their answers were impressive.
Snowfall on February 2nd 2009
The particularly heavy snowfall seems a long time ago now! It drew crowds to the cemetery. Not only children made snowmen.
February plantings by the Friends
Small parts of hedging were gapped up with new plants by the Friends on two Saturdays. We plantied holly, gorse viburnham, rose, blackthorn, hawthorn.
Haiku November 2008
Members of the London group from the British Haiku society visited the cemetery in November 2008 and were able to respond to the beautiful autumnal colours. Haiku is a ancient poetry form originating in Japan.
Fungi Walk Octover 2008Archives visit
This was our second year for a fungi walk. Following the sunny weather there appeared to be little to look at, yet with many pairs of eyes and mycologist Andy Overall to lead us, we were able to find a surprising number of fungi, including some deadly ones!
It was interesting to see many different species found for the first time with quite a number missing from last year's list. For those interested but who missed the walk - do email for a list.
Our latest visit to the archives (September 2008) was so well attended we ran out of chairs! We would like to hear from anyone who has old pictures of any of the buildings in the cemetery - especially the Anglican chapel which was pulled down last century.
The tree walk 2008 as ever was very well attended with over 40 people. The talk by Gavin Simmons (tree officer for LBHF) addressed a number of subjects including the pollarded planes, the differing appearance of a group of cherry trees, measuring the height of the Lombardy poplar (27.5m), care of the newly planted trees. The talk finished by a young oak with a life expectancy of around 400 years; it's greatest threat being from humans! A new walk is planned for June 2009.
Breathing Places Grant
Last year we spent the full £7360 ’Breathing Places’ Lottery grant awarded to us last year. In addition to the tree and hedging this included a general information leaflet about the cemetery, also an A1 size sign to be erected in the cemetery to tell people about the wildlife that they can see around them.
Management plan for Margravine Cemetery
Using our grant as a basis for further applications for funding, Natural England in partnership with the Council gave further grants to Margravine Cemetery. Several surveys were done to find out about the biodiversity. A management plan was prepared using this as a basis.
The Council invited firms to tender in 2007, for the maintenance of Margravine Cemetery along with the that of all local parks and open spaces. Quadron was appointed.
A new development management plan has been prepared and the Friends have a continuing consultation with Council officers on this. We have shared our belief that the terms and enforcement of the new contact should give full weight to the preservation and enhancement of the environmental and historical condition of the cemetery.
Visit to Brompton
Following the interesting tour at Kensal Green cemetery of monuments and the catacombs in June 2008 , we plan as a group, to visit Brompton cemetery this year.
Auction of South Lodge
The Council auctioned South Lodge on 27th October 2008 for £344,000. The Friends had originally met with Paul Bristow (Councillor for the ward) together with a Committee member from Hammersmith and Fulham Historic Buildings Group to put forward the views that South Lodge should retain its Victorian 'shell'. Our views were included in the planning guidance associated with the sale.
Through our website we were sent an old photo of South Lodge as it was just over 100 years ago. It looked like a country cottage!
Partnership with Urban Studies
November 2007 in partnership with LBHF Urban Studies Centre we worked with children from the local Melcombe school. A ten year old class made two visits to learn more about the cemetery, to conduct a brief survey, and to assist with the tree planting. The passers by that the children interviewed mostly felt the cemetery to be a safe and beautiful place.
William Morris Sixth Form
The nearby WMSF have been generous in their hosting of meetings. Last December we prepared a small display for the students . It included a gruesome account of the cemetery 'crisis' that occurred in Queen Victoria's reign!Tree planting
Back in December 2007 we completed 4 days of tree and hedge planting associated with . The trees and hedging planted back in December 2007, using our 'Breathing Places' lottery grant, were well watered last summer (mostly by rain!) and the majority got off to a good start. They are growing well despite the very dry month of March 2009.