Crossbones April 2022 Bulletin

Here’s the April bulletin by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who look after the Cross Bones Garden. You can subscribe directly (and for free) on their page: 
If you sign up for the bulletin, you’ll get it with all the photos and any links (for more information) which aren’t given here.
“Our life is only a small part of the eternal life. It is interconnected with that huge body-mind always. Birth is not a complete separation but rather the appearance of a new bud, branch, or leaf. Death is not the end of life but one step in a dynamic of change that has no beginning or end. A leaf emerges from a small bud when conditions are right in the spring. It is visible on the tree until autumn when it changes color, falls, and disappears from our view. We do not say the tree dies, only the leaf. To say a leaf – or any individual – has died is not incorrect but is only a very small part of what we see if we enlarge the framework of time and place.” (Jan Chozen Bays 2015)
Thanks to volunteer warden Hannah who shared this quote. Hannah writes: “It feels pertinent to the time of year we are in, but also particularly to Crossbones with the tree analogy. I think there is something about Crossbones that really implores us to expand our framework of time and place, living and dying, the individual etc, as the proximity between the dead and the living is so palpable in the way that plants and critters are always breaching that boundary.” Hannah is writing a blog about Crossbones which she’ll be launching shortly and would like you to input, so watch this space!
Fundraising for Ukraine
Many thanks to Crossbones supporter Caroline, for arranging the Ukraine fundraising gathering at Crossbones on Sunday 27th March. Thanks also to The Kimberleys, António Breitenfeld Sá-Dantas and guests, actor Stewart Scudamore who read some beautiful poetry and Quaker Chaplain Joe who led a meditation session. Crossbones Vigil attendee Danny led the closure of the gathering by reciting the concluding phrases of the monthly Vigils. A wonderful £581 has been raised, far exceeding Caroline’s target. If you’d like to donate, please visit her Just Giving page. Thanks again to volunteer wardens Ngaire, Ginny and Emma for opening the garden.
Dr Angryness & The Crossbones Graveyard: documentary
‘He ran a website called It was based on the word he used to say when he was young, his face would go all red when he was frustrated, and he’d say he had “angryness’. Dave Fisher
BOST and our volunteer wardens Tricia and Chris, were honoured to be able to facilitate the making of this beautiful and touching documentary about Jason ‘Angryness/Brimstone’ Fisher, compiled by Cameron from Weekly Tales and his father, Dave.

“Among the plethora of shrines left on the beribboned gate, one memorial is especially eye-catching. The sign, dedicated to Jason ‘Angryness/ Brimstone’ Fisher, includes a portrait of Jason posing in a baseball hat next to graphics of a radio mast and bright red, angry emoticon symbol. Underneath Jason’s photograph are the date of his birth and death with the words, ‘A Genius, A Legend’ and on the opposing side is the phrase ‘Pirate Radio Is Good for Your Mind’. Laminated to ensure extra protection from the elements, this unusual memorial was created by his father, Dave Fisher. Dave relays that the symbols on either side of Jason’s photograph denote key parts of his life and the very same symbols can be found on Jason’s headstone in Camberwell cemetery.”
April Events at Crossbones
Vocal Workshop with the Outside Project: Saturday 9th April 2-4pm
One of our local community partners, The Outside Project, is arranging a free vocal workshop from qualified speech and language therapists for trans, gender variant and questioning people. We’re delighted to be hosting at Crossbones on Saturday 9th April. Please email if you’d like to sign up
Imagined Portraits at Crossbones: Wed 6th April, Thurs 7th April, Fri 8th April, Saturday 9th April 12pm-2pm. FREE.
How can we commemorate people whom history has erased?
Many of the people buried at Crossbones have left no traces behind them in historical records. We don’t know their names, we can’t see their faces, but we know they existed. They were buried here because medieval society considered them outcasts. Join artist Minnie Scott in a project to picture the outcast dead as individuals. Sit in the garden and see who comes to mind. Draw or write your imagined portrait and then hang it up on a branch as an act of creative commemoration.
The Goose and the Garden
Join Crossbones supporter Jen, who also leads the monthly Crossbones Vigils outside the ribboned gates on Redcross Way, on a talk about the garden, giving a history of the Goose, Vigil and physical history and spirit of the Crossbones Graveyard. The talks will start outside the ribbon gates, then people will be guided onto Crossbones Graveyard. Tours will start at 12.30pm and will run on Thurs 21st and Thurs 28th April and Fri 6th and 13th May. The tours are FREE. Please book your place here.
Crossbones gardening
We’ve welcomed several new volunteers, both gardeners and wardens, over the last few weeks. Welcome and thank you!Gardening volunteers have been busy in the garden as it bursts into life. The hops have woken up and we spent last Friday retying the hop twines ready to receive the vines as they grow up to the Goosewing shelter. We’ve also been oiling the benches and other wooden structures to give them some TLC after the winter weather. The frogs are back and they’ve laid this year’s frogspawn in the pond, so look out for the tadpoles which will be arriving soon.
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:
Dickens visits Crossbones
Volunteer wardens Mick and Penny were delighted to welcome two groups of school children visiting from Hackney with their teachers Miss Joseph (aka, Nancy) and Mrs Curran (aka Miss Havisham). We’re hoping that the group will be taking part in our Mexican Day of the Dead week 31st October – 4th November which we’ll be celebrating with the Mexican Embassy again – watch this space for more details and to find out how to get involved!
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 £55 of on-site donations during March, with BOST donating £30 of onsite donations to the Ukraine appeal over the fundraising weekend.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
The last workshop will likely be arranged in April 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 Ukrainian oatmeal cookies
My youngest daughter and I made these for the Ukraine fundraising gathering on 27th March. They’re lovely and crunchy and great for tea dunking! This makes about 24.
125g / 1 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
1/tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
175g vegan spread
70g/ 1/2 cup sugar
30g / 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp. apple puréed
1 tsp vanilla
320g/ 2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat the spread, apple, vanilla in another bowl and then mix with the dry ingredients until a firm dough forms. Roll into 24 balls, place on greased baking paper on trays and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 12-15mins at 180C until golden.
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