The Abney Park Cemetery, formerly one of the magnificent seven garden cemeteries of London, is currently a woodland memorial park and a “non conformist” burial ground where people from different religious backgrounds are buried. A status of controlled decay is common to many cemeteries in London so that trees and vegetation are left to themselves giving the grounds an eerie feel. Dog walkers and families often appear during the weekends together with a limited amount of local tourists. However, dunring the weekdays these places act as shelters from the outside world, forgotten “zonas” separated by the human activity that surround them.
Abney Park is situated in Stoke Newington, a district in the London Borough of Hackney, and is no exception to this rule. While Church Street is packed with shops and bars that cater to the inhabitants of the area, the gates of the cemetery are not much of an attraction during the weekdays leaving the place desolated. Regardless of the efforts by the Abney Park Trust to promote tourism via guided tours and other activities, the grounds are often populated by homeless people finding shelter in front of the abandoned chapel and drug users and alcoholics sitting or sleeping on benches. The atmosphere of isolation also makes this natural reserve a chosen place for gay cruising. All this results in a strangely quiet place where it’s common to spot people sitting among graves, walking around or just waiting.
This is an attempt to document the everyday activity of a public space that lost its original purpose.