More of an organsied visit than an explore. I had seen the Catacombs on Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel and had always wanted to go and seen them in person.
Brief History taken form Wikipedia:
The cemetery was built on the site of the ancient Great North Wood, from which Norwood took its name. Although many trees had been cleared, a number of mature specimens were included in Tite's original landscaping. A tree survey of the cemetery in 2005 identified one oak which is thought to date from 1540-1640. Fourteen more oaks, a maple and an ash tree were identified that predate the foundation of the cemetery in 1836. In the first years of the cemetery's operation, these were joined by coniferous trees and evergreen holm oaks.
The site originally included two Gothic chapels at the crest of the hill, but these were badly damaged by bombing during World War II. The Dissenter's chapel was rebuilt as a Crematorium while the Episcopal chapel was levelled, to be replaced by a memorial garden over its crypt. In 1842 a section of the cemetery was acquired by London's Greek community for a Greek Orthodox cemetery, and this soon filled with many fine monuments and large mausoleums. Grade II*-listed St Stephen's Chapel within the Greek section is attributed to architect John Oldrid Scott. Another section in the south-east corner was acquired by St Mary-at-Hill in the City of London for its own parish burials.
Between 1978 and 1993 the cemetery achieved several levels of official recognition by being included in the West Norwood Conservation Area, while the entrance arch, the fine railings and 64 monuments were listed as Grade II and II* - more listed monuments than any other cemetery.
However, space for new burials ran out in the inter-war years, and, deprived of this regular source of income, the cemetery company was unable to properly afford its upkeep. Lambeth Council compulsorily purchased the cemetery in 1965, and controversially claimed ownership over existing graves. Lambeth changed some of the character of the grounds through "lawn conversion", removing at least 10,000 monuments (including some of the listed monuments) and restarted new burials by re-using plots. Southwark Diocesan Consistory Court cases in 1991 and 1995 found this to be illegal and brought about the cessation of new burials, and forced the restoration of a handful of the damaged or removed monuments. In addition it required Lambeth to publish an index of cleared plots so that the current entitled owners can request restitution. As a consequence of the courts' findings Lambeth now operates the cemetery in accordance with a scheme of management under the joint control of all interested parties that includes Lambeth, the Diocese, the local Friends of West Norwood Cemetery and conservation bodies such as English Heritage.
Notable interments taken form Wikipedia
More than 200 people in the cemetery are recorded in the Dictionary of National Biography. The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery have recorded and compiled biographies for many more of these with:
* a large number of inventors, engineers, architects, and builders, such as Sir Hiram Maxim, inventor of the automatic machine gun, Sir Henry Bessemer, engineer and inventor of the famous steel process, James Henry Greathead who tunnelled much of the London Underground, William Burges and Sir William Tite, gothic architects
* many artists and entertainers, including: David Roberts, artist, William Collingwood Smith, painter, Joseph Barnby, composer and resident conductor at the Royal Albert Hall, Katti Lanner, ballet dancer, and actors E. J. Lonnen, Patsy Smart, and Mary Brough.
* many notable medics, such as: Dr William Marsden, founder of the Royal Free Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital, Dr Gideon Mantell, the geologist and pioneering palaeontologist, and Sister Eliza Roberts, (Florence Nightingale's principal nurse during the Crimean War)
* many sportsmen, including C. W. Alcock, founder of Test cricket and the FA Cup, Georg Hackenschmidt, Anglo-Estonian professional wrestler.
There are also the 'Great and the Good' of the time, such as Sir Henry Tate, sugar magnate and founder of London's Tate Gallery, Paul Julius Baron von Reuter, founder of the news agency, and the Revd. Charles Spurgeon, Baptist preacher, Isabella Beeton (the famous cookery writer), who died at 29 in childbirth, to name but a few.
The Greek diaspora is well represented, including the Ralli family, Panayis Vagliano, Rodocanachi family, and Princess Eugenie Palaeologue
Useful link http://www.fownc.org/ (Our guide for the day also writes on this site)
It was a truly amazing site, but creepy at times, especially when I came across a coffin from the early nineties in the catacombs that still had the remains of the flowers that had been put there by the mourners.
Anyway on with the pics
The crest on the main gate mentions connections to Canterbury
Some of the monuments
Now for the catacombs
The Coffin lift (The chapel above has been flatterned and replaced by a rose garden, There are plans to replace the chapel)
The Arms of the Catacombs
Looking into one of the sealed Catacombs
And then you turn a corner and come across these
This was the creepiest one for me. These are the remains of flowers left on top of a coffin from the early nineties,
Thanks for looking
This was originally an invite kindly offered by Mr Jobs for me and the wife,the wife had to decline due to ill health so i jumped at the chance of 3 days under paris with a bunch of strange chaps in waders.
Was picked up by Maniac along with non member Mr perry to then head to dover to meet Bigjobs,Paradox,Fb,James and amy and then head out on the 2.15 ferry!
Bit of car trouble and a sleep later we are all on our way into Paris to find our entry point.
Once inside i have to say it was pretty full on with the pace and we spent the majority of the time on the march from one area to the next and from what i can gather we did some milage from the very north to the furthest south of this section with many stop off's in-between,i didnt have chance to grab as many pictures as i wanted to due to the camera being buried under the kit i took and for not wanting to hold the rest of the group up constantly setting up shots,and to be fair there is no real way to get my gear out safely when your ball deep in water.
Really enjoyed this trip and the party nye was a great end to the night with some really decent people.
Enough waffle and on with the pictures that i did manage to get..Just a final massive thanks to all concerned ,it was a great trip and one i wont forget in a hurry
Pics in no particular order..
People with maps who know where im going..
Pic heavy alert
And my favourite picture
Thanks to all involved couldn't have imagined a more decent a way to spent NYE..
Various bits of cobbled together footage from exploring metro systems in London and overseas. (The end bit at Aldwych is an in-joke).
There's stuff from New York and skyscrapers and stuff on the account, as well as a trip to North Korea. I rarely film, so not much on there.
If you look at this write up from the Daily Fail
Goussainville: Inside the French ghost town abandoned 40 YEARS AGO | Daily Mail Online
Goussainville looks like a good explore. Since the Tupolev Tu-144 fell out of the sky onto the village it has been
slowly depopulating, or so the article makes out.
However I roll up after a long drive to find more cars than the M25 at 8.30 on a wet Monday morning.
Cars are parked everywhere - not exactly deserted then.
So I find the old mansion house,
walk up the steps and look in.
Don't know if this has ever happened to anyone else on this forum but I simply couldn't be arsed to climb in.
Crap everywhere and mindless graff over every available and even hard to reach surface.
Go round the back and was just as nonplussed
& this is why people have moved on. Approx every 3 minutes..
So I'm here now might as well look at the rest of the village.
Here's an interesting door of a kind that seems to be repeated many,many times
Just round the corner I got into a rambling smashed up house. Room after wrecked room with discarded clothes & assorted garbage.
Then upstairs I found a photo album of an African family, all in bright colours looking at the camera like startled rabbits.
Why would anyone carry that all the way from Africa to France and leave it on the floor of some shit hole.
I'd had enough. I couldn't take any pictures, the camera never came out of it's bag.
Decay - fine, abject misery - sorry no thanks.................