Christmas closing of the garden

During BOST staff holidays, Crossbones Garden will be closed. The last ‘official’ opening day will be Friday 15th December. The garden will reopen on Monday 8th January. During the holiday break, some volunteers may arrange to warden for unofficial public openings, though we advise people not to turn up assuming that the garden will be open.

As ever, the shrine on the gates in Redcross Way is accessible at all times.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Crossbones Vigil at Christmas

Sunday 23rd December: gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at Crossbones Gates / Shrine, Redcross Way, London SE1 – Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas and…

To remember the outcast, dead or alive, to renew the shrine at the gates in Redcross Way and to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow. This is the 163rd consecutive Vigil, held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004. The Vigils are linked to traditional seasonal festivals.

On Sunday 23rd December, we celebrate the winter solstice and the return of the light, the pagan festival of Yule – and Christmas. Having briefly experimented with alternatives, we’ve recently reverted to singing traditional Christmas Carols. We’re all faiths and none, and you’re welcome to share something from your own tradition. And, as ever, we perform our own inclusive secular rituals to honour the outcast. Come help hold the space. Please bring a ribbon or memento to tie to the shrine, a song, poem or personal testimony to share.

BBC World Service / PRI radio: ‘London has a unique vigil for its forgotten dead’

This radio feature could be heard coast-to-coast in the U.S. on Halloween 2017. It was recorded by Leo Hornuk during the 161st ‘Crossbones Vigil and Halloween Portal’ held at the red gates in Redcross Way, London, on 23rd October 2017

click link to PRI webpage and play radio report

John Constable aka John Crow calls out Irving Rappaport’s name to begin the reading of the names of the dead as participants tie memorial ribbons to the gates.

‘Irving Rappaport: Mensch, 23rd September 2017…’

Grant Burford, who co-created this website, died on 18th April 2017. His parents, Vernon and Terri, are at the vigil. Terri reads out Grant’s ribbon:

‘Grant Burford, Friend of the Outcast…’

Maggie Woodall is also present, honouring her son:

‘Tyson Cochise Haynes: Sept. 27, 2016, was killed, shot dead in the Netherlands’ <3

The names of three of the recent dead, the magicians Steve Ash, David Blank and Steve Wilson are all called, though they’re not included in the radio report. And so many more, loved and lost. And not lost. Remembered.

‘Steve Ash: philosopher. prankster.’ Restored to the shrine to the outcast, Crossbones Gates, 2017. Photo by Max Reeves

A few days ago, Katy Kaos and John Crow were in the garden tending the shrine when they heard a stranger in the street, reading from a memorial ribbon on the gates, saying Irving’s name out loud.

A recent visitor to the graveyard, Steve, reported seeing a ghost of a young woman, appearing and then vanishing behind a lamp-post.

And at the 23rd November Vigil, the ribbons fluttered in the breeze to remind us all that, here at Crossbones, there’s a time to bind and a time to loose…

Open pathways >><<

Opening hours in August 2017

Crossbones Garden of Remembrance is usually open weekdays from 12 noon to 3pm. In August, due to availability of volunteer wardens, the opening hours may vary.

On week beginning 14 August 2017, the garden is scheduled to open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

To confirm if the garden is open on a specific day please call Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) Telephone: 020 7403 3393 Email:

Crossbones May Fair

Tuesday 23rd May, 5pm (followed by 7pm Vigil)
Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, Union Street SE1

a special opening and promenade performance on the site of
the outcasts’ burial ground, exploring its stranger than fiction
true story and the transforming visions it has inspired…

Hosted by JOHN CONSTABLE aka Crow
author of The Southwark Mysteries
and international poets MAMTA SAGAR and ANA SEFEROVIC

5pm Garden opens
5.30 Crow’s magical mystery tour of the garden
with interventions by BETWEEN TEETH theatre
6pm Performance in the garden of songs and poems for Crossbones

7pm the 156th Cross Bones Vigil for the Outcast (at the Red Gates in Redcross Way)

A FREE EVENT! Donations welcome.
Dress for the weather. Bring cushions for comfort.
Under 16s please bring a responsible adult

Consultation on Crossbones Garden of Remembrance

Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST, the charity that manages Crossbones Garden of Remembrance) has been asked by the site-owners Transport for London (TfL) to present a plan for the future of the garden when the adjoining site is developed. Hej from BOST has invited some people to attend a series of ‘Vision Masterplan subcommittee’ workshops ons everal Saturday afternoons in April and May 2017. If you’d like to join, or to find out more, please let her know. Or you can submit ideas by emailing

Friends of Crossbones accept that BOST may need to ‘improve’ the site, and strongly believe that this must be balanced by the determination to protect and enhance what’s already there, including those ‘DIY’ features which embody the unique spirit of Crossbones and which have already established it as an iconic memorial garden attracting visitors from all over the world.

Crossbones Garden of Remembrance

In 2014, the site-owners Transport for London (TfL) granted a lease for Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) to create a ‘meanwhile garden’ on the site of the former burial ground. Work on the garden commenced in 2015.

TfL’s own guidelines make clear the particular constraints relating to the Cross Bones Graveyard area, which is marked on their plans as public open land.

The Crossbones Garden of Remembrance is now open to the public – weekdays from 12 noon to 3pm (and some Saturdays) thanks to Crossbones volunteer wardens. The garden is funded by public donations.

To become a warden or to get involved in community gardening and other projects on site, to make a donation or to help with fundraising, please contact:

Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST): 020 7403 3393
or visit

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