Join your guides, Romany and Sam, as we pay homage to the fearless women interred in Abney Park cemetery – pioneers who ripped up the rule books and whose stories are inspiring, surprising, and poignant.
The nurse whose two-fingered salute to bureaucracy invoked the wrath (and later respect) of Florence Nightingale; the Suffragette incarcerated and force-fed in Holloway Prison; and the aeronaut who risked life and limb navigating her hot air balloon above England’s skyline: these women both suffered and soared in making their marks in their landscapes and ours.
Abney Park isn’t without performers and humanitarians, including the famed ‘Wizard Queen and Mesmerist’ and one of the first female cross-dressing music hall superstars who took aim at the swells of the day in song. Behind every great man is (another) great woman: the Mother of the Salvation Army was as much a tour de force in creating the organisation as her husband was.
We will meet at main Egyptian Gates entrance on Stoke Newington High Street at 2pm Sat 28/04/2018. Wear suitable footwear. Tour is approximately 90mins.
The "Women of the Magnificient Seven" is part of the Life Series Events Programme organized by the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret for the Spring/Summer 2018 in partnership with the amazing Doyennes of Death. For more information please visit www.oldoperatingtheatre.com .
Doyennes of Death mission statement
Cemeteries are our outdoor archives. Tangible time capsules. Accessible fragments of our collective heritage and individual tales of love and loss. Doyennes of Death are a two-woman team of storytellers who share their love of history and remarkable lives of the interred through the medium of cemetery tours throughout London’s iconic Victorian garden cemeteries. Beginning as the brainchild of cemetery historians Romany Reagan and Samantha Perrin, the Doyennes of Death project offers a peek through the veil into the hidden histories within the arcadian environs of London’s Magnificent Seven Victorian garden cemeteries from the feminine perspective. Uncovering the lost stories of the fascinating women buried in these cemeteries, Doyennes of Death are researching and writing a suite of seven cemetery tours, ‘Women of the Magnificent Seven’, beginning with the inaugural tour: ‘Women of Abney Park Cemetery’ 28 April, 2018. A mix of tragic figures and fearless avengers, Doyennes of Death tours celebrate the lives of London’s forgotten heroines amongst the crumbling stones and grey ladies. It’s Victoriana with brass knuckles.
Romany Reagan bio
Romany Reagan is a final-year PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis is a study of her practice-based research project ‘Abney Rambles’, which is comprised of four audio walks that she researched, wrote, recorded from 2014 to 2017 within the space of Abney Park cemetery. By way of an audio walking practice borrowing a conceptual framework from Arthur Machen’s ‘doors of perception’, artistic interpretations of outdoor archive, nonhuman networks, ‘earth mystery’, and mourning practices are explored in Abney Park. The Abney Rambles audio walks were created with the aim of engaging the local community of Stoke Newington, the wider community of Hackney, and all visitors to Abney Park cemetery, with the space and to offer different perspectives on what a cemetery can represent within its local community. Areas of research encompass: psychogeography, mourning practices, ‘The Good Death’, anachronistic space, heterotopias, gothic sensibility, liminal space, the uncanny, and the Victorian ‘Cult of the Dead’. Her walk ‘Crossing Paths/Different Worlds in Abney Park Cemetery’ was published in Ways to Wander (Triarchy Press, 2015)
Website: https://abneyrambles.com/ Twitter: @msromany; @abneyrambles; @DoyennesDeath
Samantha Perrin bio
Samantha Perrin has been a cemetery tour guide for 15 years and fell into it accidentally after applying to be a cemetery landscape volunteer. The cemetery was in dire need of guides at that time and so she was encouraged to help out in that way. She’s so glad she did! Taking tours reignited her passion for history, which she’d never previously thought to explore in a graveyard, while also showing what goldmines cemeteries are in the way of architecture, biodiversity, and life stories (drama, sorrow, action – cemeteries have the lot). Sam currently guides at Tower Hamlets, Hampstead, and Abney Park cemeteries while pursuing her Masters degree in Victorian Studies and working for a Homelessness Unit. Sam works on other cool cemetery and history-related projects with @CemeteryClub; @DoyennesDeath; and @Green_Pandora.