Cross Bones May 2022 Bulletin


The Green Man, also known as the May King, and The Lions Part visited Crossbones on Beltane, 1st May, as a special thank you to our Crossbones volunteers. At Crossbones and during the procession through the streets which followed, we were entertained by poetry, including some Shakespeare, songs, readings and a re-enactment of George slaying the Dragon. Thanks very much to the actors who all volunteer their time for this fantastic theatre group!

We’re hoping to be able to be able to host the Lions part again later this year, so please watch this space!

Imagined Portraits

We’ve had wonderful feedback following the Imagined Portraits workshops run by artist Minnie Scott in April.  These workshops sought to commemorate people whom history has erased, picturing the outcast dead as individuals. People were invited to draw or write their imagined portrait.

“I found it peaceful and meditative to sit with others and draw – and in that embodied state, I felt like I was connecting with the dead, just by letting go of the everyday and creating the space for attention. I liked that the workshops were held over a number of days – the sustained engagement feels appropriate to the kind of community building that Crossbones is so great for. The completed portraits looked beautiful around the garden and I like that they are given back to the site at the end rather than taken away.”

“A welcoming experience that made me feel very relaxed and happy in this special place giving me a new perspective on Crossbones cemetery!”

“I really really enjoyed the experience – being able to draw and not worry about imperfections in my drawing, just thinking about the women buried here and their experiences.”

“It was a lovely experience in imagining those buried in a deeper way, trying to relate to them and know them.”

“I loved that the exercise gave faces to the stories we learn about here as well as encouraging us to really engage our empathy and imagination to create images of these individuals, considering how they might be dressed, their expressions, and the style of the portrait in relation to what thought it should it should express. Loved the interactive engagement and connection built with the past here. Volunteers were so nice and helpful and the materials provided were perfect for this activity.”

“I welcome bringing our queer and gender diverse community here to an Outsider Resting Place where we would likely have found ourselves over the centuries.”

“Enjoyed my visit to Crossbones and it was an added delight to be able to participate in and add to the cemetery through this fascinating medium of remembrance.
I really enjoyed it ! I felt very peaceful while doing it and quite emotional too!”

People continue to leave portraits even after the event. Mark Evans, from San Francisco, painted and left one on the Union St gates:

“Hope you didn’t mind but I was motivated to contribute to your garden. I left a small artwork as a token of appreciation for your nice volunteer who showed me your space….I will definitely sign up to your bulletin and try to stay in touch. Keep up the good work.”

May Events at Crossbones
The Goose and the Garden: Friday 13th May, 1230pm

Join Crossbones supporter Jen, who also leads the monthly Crossbones Vigils outside the ribboned gates on Redcross Way, on her final talk about the garden, giving a history of the Goose, Vigil and physical history and spirit of the Crossbones Graveyard. The talk starts outside the ribbon gates, then people will be guided onto Crossbones Graveyard. The tour is FREE. Please book your place here.


Chelsea Fringe

Thanks to our fantastic volunteer wardens, we are delighted to be able to extend our opening hours at Crossbones during Chelsea Fringe week. Crossbones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance will be open every day 12-2pm from Sat 21st May to Sun 29th May. Entry of course is free.

On Friday 27th May, I’ll be giving FREE tours and Q and A, at 12pm, 1245pm and 130pm. If you’re interested in local history, community activism or are trying to set up your own community garden, you’ll find these tours informative and inspiring.

Portraiture Artist Minnie Scott has developed a self led activity and on every day of the Fringe, where you can create your own imagined portrait or other artwork/poem to remember those buried in this special place.  You are welcome to take your piece home with you or leave at Crossbones to help others remember these once outcast dead.

Crossbones gardening


Several new volunteers, both gardeners and wardens, have joined our team over the last few weeks.  Welcome and thank you! Pictured above is Sean who accompanies our Thursday warden teams and loves to sketch at Crossbones.  Volunteer warden Mick has created some stunning collages which we’ve printed as postcards – please ask one of our wardens if you’d like one, when you next visit.  Suggested donation 50p, and all money goes back into garden maintenance and events.

Both our volunteer gardeners and wardens have been watching the parents of great tit chicks visiting the nest box we installed years ago, in one of the goat willows. If you visit the garden over the next few weeks, you may be lucky enough to spot mum or dad collecting food, or listen to their rowdy children.

Thanks again to our wonderful team of volunteer gardeners who take care of the Graveyard every Friday 12-2pm, lead by Barney.  If you’d like to volunteer your time as a Crossbones warden or gardener, please get in contact:

Crossbones Opening hours
Crossbones is open Wed, Thurs, Fri 12-2pm and some weekends when our fantastic volunteer wardens are available.  If you’d like to become a warden, and help us extend our opening hours, please let me know ( 

Thanks to the generosity of our visitors, and our wardens for opening the garden, we received £105 of on-site donations during April.

Crossbones Vision detailed design and construction workshops
I know there are many new subscribers since the last bulletin, so I’ll bring you up to speed on these workshops! We’ve hosted the first five of a series of workshops, in collaboration with U+I (the developer responsible for the Liberty of Southwark development next to Crossbones and who will one day be our new landlord) which will explore how we create our Vision for Crossbones, and help to ensure that contractors working on site do so with sensitivity. 

Our first workshop (Friday 12th November 2021) was held at the Liberty of Southwark site which is next to Crossbones. MOLA Archaeologist Antonietta gave us a talk about the fascinating discoveries made on the site. You can follow the dig here

The second workshop (Saturday 27th November 2021) looked at the proposed construction of the boundaries on site. Sculptor Adrian joined us and shared his experience of metalworking and we looked at ways of involving the community in both the design of the boundaries and possibly even contribute to the features on the boundaries through community workshops.  You can read the notes from the workshop here.

Note that the ribboned railings/’gates’ did not form part of the Boundaries workshop and will not be forming part of the Crossbones enhancements. TfL states:
“TfL have reviewed the ribboned gates and advised that there are no urgent works to be undertaken.”

The third workshop (Saturday 4th December 2021) looked at the proposed structures on site: new ramps, a new goosewing shelter to mirror the existing one, as well as new shelters. You can read the notes here.
Volunteer warden Simon gave a talk on the history of ramps and shared his thought-provoking poem Wheel, which details his experience of the city as a wheelchair user. 
Joel from YesMake was on hand to answer questions and listen to ideas about what the new ramps and shelters should be like. 

The fourth workshop (Friday 14th Jan 2022) looked at surfacing on site and a little more at the new ramps and steps. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here and here.

The fifth workshop (Friday 11th Feb 2022) recapped on the surfacing and also looked at Events and Visitor circulation and we looked at storage, seating and proposed new planting. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here.

The last workshop will likely be arranged in June 2022 – we’ll be looking at water and electricity and a summary of our discussions.

Crossbones Vigil
Don’t forget that the Crossbones Vigil, held by Friends of Crossbones is on 23rd of every month at 7pm outside the gates on Redcross Way. You can also join the Vigil via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person. Just login to your Zoom account or link on the link here.
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240
Passcode 377295
For more information about the history of the Vigils, see:

This month’s Crossbones recipe: Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate and Lavender muffins

My youngest daughter and I made these for the 1st May gathering with the Lions part, as a thank you for the Crossbones volunteers. They are VERY lavendery!

For the cupcakes:
175 g plain gluten-free flour
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
50 g cocoa powder
200 g light brown sugar
250 ml hot water
50 ml rapeseed oil (if you can find it)
1 tbsp. white vinegar

For the lavender icing:
100g Fairtrade 70% cocoa Vegan chocolate (we used Divine)
50g cocoa powder
1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers (we used some of Crossbones’ from 2021 harvest)
2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
100g icing sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt.
A little hot water

For the cupcakes: Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat in the wet ingredients until smooth.  Transfer into x 12 muffin cases. Bake for 12-15mins at 180C until well risen, springy and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool on a wire rack.
For the icing: gently heat the flowers and the oil for a minute until just bubbling, and strain.  Put to one side. You can compost the flowers. Gently melt the chocolate and the oil and stir in all other ingredients, including the lavender oil – a few drops at a time (be careful – it’s strong stuff!) – and beat.  Keep adding the oil and try a little until to your taste. Add a little more hot water / sugar depending on the consistency you want.  Spread onto the cakes straight away for a glossy look, when still warm.  Or leave to cool and beat for a fluffier look.  Add edible flowers such as lavender or viola to each.

Got an idea?
As always, the best way to ‘weave Crossbones into the fabric of SE1’ is to get people involved on site. If you have an idea for an event, installation, tour, or other activity / initiative, I’d be delighted if you would get in contact with me via email, phone, WhatsApp, Signal etc. I’m also aiming to be on site most Fridays 12pm-2pm when the gardening team is there, so let me know if you have a positive way of spreading the Crossbones story, and you’d like to speak to me in person. 

Liberty of Southwark development
For those of you receiving this bulletin for the first time, the Liberty of Southwark development is the one adjacent to Crossbones and an exciting archaeological dig is currently being undertaken. 
Many of you will have heard the recent and exciting discoveries made in February 2022 and may even have been lucky enough to attend a tour on site and see the tremendous Roman mosaic which has received a huge amount of publicity


You can also view the blog here and contact with the developer directly for information about the works on the site: 

Best wishes

Hej and the team at Bankside Open Spaces Trust