Kibworth & Smeeton WI
In April Sandra Moore spoke about‘Living Memories of Belgrave Cemetery'. Her ‘apprentice’ Nick told us that Belgrave was a small village until the Industrial Revolution. Expanding towns meant that village churchyards became so full that when it rained heavily, bodies could be exposed. Belgrave Cemetery was created in 1881 and is the resting place for about 1,500 people.
Sandra, from ‘Friends of Belgrave Cemetery', was dressed entirely in black, taking on the character of Elizabeth Goodwin. Her talk was in the style of this cemetery ‘resident' gossiping about her neighbours. Elizabeth was a teacher at the Belgrave National School, becoming head teacher in 1911 until she died in 1922, aged 53. We were shown pictures of her grave, where she is buried with her parents and an aunt, and learned that many graves were damaged by rabbits, with bodies on the top suffering the most! The headstone and grave, cleaned and refurbished, are now rabbit-free!
One resident of the Cemetery, Anne Garner, a downstairs maid, and her husband created their own population explosion! She worked until she was 100, received a bouquet from Charles Keane on her 104th birthday, but died before she reached 105 because she decided to paint her cellar - and fell down the stairs!
We had pictures and descriptions of some very flamboyant funerals before Sandra (or Elizabeth) ended her talk, leaving us knowing that she has many more tales to tell - but they must wait for another day. Our next meeting will feature Willow Weaving with Peter Wood on Thursday 13 June at 7.30 in the Grammar School Hall.
Kibworth & Smeeton WI prepares the ‘Yarn-bombing’ display at Kibworth Community Library. Their Chair, Hazel Taylor together with other WI members, including the Chronicle’s very own Beverley Moffat, decorated trees, fences and benches.