Saturday, June 09, 2007

Necropolis: London and Its Dead

I was quite suprised to read this book, and even more when I received a link to this scheme.

Due to the 1665 plague, pits were dug in Hyde Park (now a destination for leisurely strolls surrounded by genteel neighbourhoods) to dispose of cadavers of plague victims. Please bear in mind that back then Westminster Abbey was outside London's borders, Camden [possibly] used for grazing sheep, and Knightsbridge nothing more than a village. When the Tube network was developed in the late 19th century, the route from Hyde Park Corner to Knightsbridge had to go around these pits as the construction hit a pile of human remains that was too hard to dig through.

The curves of these pits can still be recognised today.

Signs of mortality is available in abundance around us. I have gotten myself into deep discussions on "what organs you'd donate", the highs and lows of "how you'd prefer to dispose of your body" and other seemingly gruesome topics with friends. I'm glad my friends at school are aware of one of life's two great unavoidables (the other being taxes.) I'm not a morbidity-loving person though, so I wouldn't really get into the kind of mourning cult Queen Victoria sparked one-and-a-half centuries ago.

Gee, what started as an innocent attempt to read outside my genre turns out to be quite a colourful learning experience. I'm going back to modern Middle-Eastern feminism, Elizabethan-era intriques, children's illustrated storybooks, picturebooks and celebrity cooks' cookbooks till I can move on to other 'unrelated' books (see Pact #4 for details.) At the end, I admit this book is still inspiring. I just hope I won't be Victorian enough to splurge on black crepe or bombazine 9__9

I'm going to meet up with Apink and Rudy tomorrow, so better hit the matress now. Take care! :))

1 comment:

doctor chip said...



wow. what a strange place...

got shtëin?