Saturday, 8 December 2007

Tombstones sent to landfill

Marjorie Stuart, OGS Co-Chair for Cemetery Preservation, sent this message a few days ago ...

This past week the Municipality of Thames Centre, the administrators of Gladstone Baptist Cemetery, had the cemetery destroyed and the broken tombstones sent to a landfill. The municipality did this over their concern for health and public safety. Public safety is a number one concern for all cemeterians. However, recent photographs of the cairn show the approximately 70 tombstones leaning against a wall and most appear to be intact. No effort was apparently made to restore or preserve these tombstones which date to the 1850s. Photos of the cairn, which has been destroyed, can be seen at http://www.thamescentre.on.ca/cemetery/cemeteryfrontpage.htm as well this was reported on local television and the London Free Press and may be viewed at http://lfpress.com/newsstand/Videos

Apparently the cemetery was in the care of the municipal council who failed to appreciate that staff would understand a decision they took in October to mean the tombstones should be dumped. A London Free Press article indicates this has "completely embarrassed" the council.

The OGS message called for people to write to provincial and local politicians. However, it appears the message has already been transmitted; perhaps the publicity generated will serve as a lesson to others to whom the care of cemeteries is entrusted

A blog entry, including a transcription of the memorial inscriptions, is here.

Thank you to Linda Reid for bringing this to my attention.

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