Elizabeth Ann Barnes nee Overton (1858/9-1930)
Gravestone not located.
Status: Not yet located
Abney Park Cemetery, London, England
Notes: The two most important buildings in the park are the Abney Park Chapel and the 'Egyptian Revival' entrance buildings. To understand something of their architecture and design principles, an appreciation of the novel purposes of the Abney Park Cemetery founders is an essential beginning.
Abney Park was the first European garden cemetery (i.e. burial ground complete with reception buildings, chapel and landscaping), to take a wholly non-denominational and ecumenical approach; here there were to be no invidious dividing lines separating any parts of the park for exclusive use by a particular religious group - no consecration of a part of the cemetery except where individuals chose this for their plot, and no Act of Parliament to establish the land as a cemetery rather than, indeed, a park.
This non-denominational freedom built on the Congregationalist founders' non-denominational principles that underpinned their approach to The London Missionary Society, the slavery abolitionist cause and emerging New World cemetery design.
Moreover, the company's prospectus made great play of the fact that it would be a cemetery 'which shall be open to all classes of the community'. Abney Park was therefore open to the burial of the labouring classes in common graves; a situation made more necessary after London's city burial grounds were closed in 1852, but which was not offered by the other garden cemeteries of the period on account of the loss of revenue compared to sales to the well to do. nonetheless, in breaking the mould, Abney Park Cemetery did not offer its most saleable plots to those seeking common grave burial; the company allocated the shady spaces between the boundary walls and the peimeter arboretum, some distance from the most expensive (pathside) locations. Today these might well be sought-after as woodland burial locations, and possibly in that sense too, Abney Park was a pioneer.
The design team consisted of the client, George Collison; the architect William Hosking FSA; the landscape advisor George Loddiges; and Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi junior.
The Abney Park Chapel
[architect: William Hosking FSA]
Abney Park Chapel, is therefore a pioneering design, influenced by the early 'Gothic Revival' style but standing apart in many distinct ways as an early form of the 'Dissenting Gothic' style so as to represent its being the first non-denominational cemetery chapel in Europe (and possibly the earliest example in the world, since the chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery, the design inspiration for Abney Park Cemetery, was not added until some years later).