Cemetery Friends launch community learning programme

The series of free workshops will cover a range of heritage and conservation themes and aim to give Islanders a better understanding of Northwood Cemetery, its surrounding area, its history and conservation value.

northwood cemetary

Jon Matthews shares this latest from Northwood Cemetery. Ed


The Friends of Northwood Cemetery in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council have launched a major new community learning programme as part of their 1.6 million pound heritage and conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The series of three-hour workshops, which are free to all members of the Island community, cover a range of heritage and conservation themes and aim to give local people a better understanding of Northwood Cemetery, its surrounding area, its history and conservation value and will be held at Northwood House in Cowes.

Sharing our wonderful resource
Peter Almond, Chair of the Project Board said,

“There are so many wonderful stories about Northwood Cemetery and the lives of those who are buried there, but many of these stories remain hidden.

“As one of the oldest Island Victorian municipal cemeteries, it contains wonderful memorials reflecting the differing social attitudes to death over the centuries, with war memorials that recall the sacrifices made by local people during both first and second world wars and with conservation areas containing many rare species of flora and fauna as well as a very vibrant population of red squirrels.

“We want to share this wonderful resource with the wider community.”

Research the history of your home
Richard Smout, County Archivist and IW Heritage Services Manager will be facilitating the first series of workshops on House History, helping people to research the history of their own property and its links with Northwood, Cowes and Gurnard to be held on the 30th August, 20th September and 25th October.

This will be followed by a workshop looking at Cemeteries and Burials in Cowes and Northwood and an introduction to archival evidence of different funeral customs and attitudes to death in previous centuries held on 18th October.

Finally, the role of women will be explored with workshops on the 8th and 22nd of November looking at the hidden lives of women who were buried in the cemetery.

Richard said,

“Given that half of the people buried in Northwood Cemetery are likely to be women, it is strange that so little seems to be known or recorded about their lives and this tells us a lot about attitudes to women in centuries past.

“We thought it important to explore how to find out more about these women who must have played an important but unrecognised role in the community.”

Extending links with other groups
The project is also keen to learn from the experience of others and so has developed strong links with Ryde Social Heritage Group who helped deliver the large scale Ryde Cemetery Restoration Project a few years ago.

They are delivering a programme of free open learning sessions held at Ryde Cemetery on Saturdays mornings at 10.30am across August, September and October looking at memorial transcribing, archives and research.

Find out more
All the workshops are free of charge but booking is essential and places will be limited. More information and a booking form for any of the learning workshops can be obtained from peter.almond@friendsofnorthwoodcemetery.org.uk or by calling 01983 299091. Alternatively the detailed training programme can be seen on the Friends of Northwood Cemetery Website.

Image: © Ade Taylor

Monday, 15th August, 2016 6:00pm

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Filed under: Community, Northwood, Top story

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