Arnos vale cemetery and the lively materialities of trees in place
Jones, O. (2007) Arnos vale cemetery and the lively materialities of trees in place. Garden History, 35 (2). 149 -171. ISSN 0307-1243
Publisher's URL: http://www.gardenhistorysociety.org/publications/j...
This paper tells a story of the Victorian cemetery movement and one particular and controversial example – Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol, south-west England. The narrative shows how places such as this are distinct spaces, but also fluxes of process where all manner of flows of materialities, politics, culture and economy come together to spatialise the place into being. This being is, however, unstable and given to change as variations in unfolding presences and agencies occur. Attention is first given to the emergence of the new cemeteries in the 19th century and the influential cemetery design of J. C. Loudon and the tree planting he advocated. Trees were central to Loudon’s ‘cemetery style’ and he drew on the vastly expanded palette of available tree species being collected from around the world, and on tree cultures/ spaces from ancient times and exotic places, to develop his exacting specifications. Then attention turns to Arnos Vale itself and its markedly mixed and changing fortunes and formations over the last 170 years. This history is crosscut with current interests in the agency of non-humans and theorisations of places as dynamic processes with all manner of things coming together (intentionally and otherwise) over time. Trees bring their own lively materialities and temporalities to these places, which inevitably transform them, despite best laid plans, and reconfigure them in the shifting material space of the city and in the complex cultural contexts (local to global) which surround them.
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