At the end of last month I sent a letter out to St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cemetery to ask if they had record of the burial of my great great grandmother, who died as Beatrice Speller in 1971 at Langthorne Hospital, Leytonstone. As her mother was Irish and her daughter was Catholic, I expected her to be buried at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cemetery which is located on the same road as the former hospital. I received a letter back from the cemetery after a couple of days to inform me that they had no record of her at the cemetery.
After the response from St. Patrick’s, I went online and sent several e-mails cemeteries and crematoriums around East London including Enfield Crematorium, Forest Park Cemetery & Crematorium, Manor Park Crematorium and the City of London Cemetery & Crematorium. The replies started to come back, one by one informing me that there were no records for Beatrice until the last cemetery to reply, the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park got back to me with the information I had been looking for!
The City of London Cemetery confirmed that Beatrice Speller was buried on 22 January, 1971 aged 86 in a private grave, plot number 118418 in square 111. Also buried there on 13 November, 1953 was her husband William Speller aged 73.
So yesterday I set the afternoon aside to go up to Manor Park and find the grave. I got to the cemetery just after 4 o’clock in the afternoon with around half an hour before closing time. I forgot about the possibility of the cemetery closing earlier in the day because of winter opening times, probably because the sun was still shining following on from the 30 degree heatwave that I so enjoyed last week! A cemetery officer provided me with a map at the main gate to find the square number which appeared to be straight ahead from the entrance and right next to the chapel.
I found the gravestone without a problem. The plot had been purchased by Beatrice when her husband, William, had died in 1953. The gravestone was in the style of an open book, usually designed for couples to have their memorial on either side of the book’s pages, but the side of the page which was presumably meant for Beatrice’s memorial has been left untouched. It seems once Beatrice died in 1971, she was buried in the grave and that was that. I might add that Beatrice wasn’t the most fondly remembered of my ancestors!