Author: Ray Hayes

Bio Blitz at Jesmond Old Cemetery.

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The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, in conjunction with the Natural History Society of Northumbria, are hosting a ‘Bio Blitz’ on Sunday 28th July, from 11:00 til 15:00. The idea is to find out exactly what crawls, flies, grows and walks in Jesmond Old Cemetery – a kind of urban safari, if you like – with a view to contributing to the Gosforth’s Wild Web project, and also to help us produce a map of JOC, highlighting what can be found there, in addition to the gravestones and monuments!!

So, we will have experts from the Natural History Society of Northumbria in attendance, who will also be providing an array of kit to help us safely catch (and release, once identified) what we can find in JOC. The Friends will, naturally, be there too, and we will help guide you through JOC, providing smiles, information and refreshments.

It is a ‘drop in’ kind of a session, so no need to stay all day – just pop in for as long as you like. All welcome, particularly well behaved children….

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Dissertation Success for Newcastle University Student.

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The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were asked by Izzy, a Student from Newcastle University, for help and advice with her Final Year Dissertation. Obviously, we were very keen to help Izzy with her work, entitled ‘Gravestones of Grief: revealing women’s experience of grief, mourning and loss in Jesmond Old Cemetery.’ The aims of Izzy’s study were to determine the extent to which graves JOC gravestones provide insights into the mourning experiences of women in Newcastle upon Tyne during the Victorian Era and to investigate whether these experiences changed over the Victorian period and whether gravestones reflect these changes.

A very detailed investigation by Izzy highlighted that, ‘overall, the gravestones at JOC encapsulate the shifting mourning experiences for women over the Victorian era, highlighting the profound emotional toll and resilience required to navigate these changes. They reflect the transition from a period marked by high maternal mortality to one where advancements in healthcare began to mitigate these losses, thus changing the nature and increasing the frequency of mourning for women. These gravestones
serve as poignant historical records, providing insight into the personal and collective experiences of grief specific to women and the changing landscape of Victorian Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Through meticulous documentation and analysis, this study reveals the profound impact of socio-economic and medical advancements on women’s experiences of grief ,mourning, and loss.’

Izzy was awarded a Distinction for her Dissertation – a great result…..many congratulations, Izzy.

Izzy on one of our tours, with Gary and Susie.

Izzy was kind enough to acknowledge the input of the Friends in her Dissertation, writing, ‘I am profoundly thankful to the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, whose invaluable assistance greatly enriched this study. Special thanks go to Pauline Martin and Ray Hayes for their dedicated efforts in providing historical context and facilitating access to critical resources.’

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Jesmond Community Festival 2024.

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The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery had a great time at this year’s JCF. As usual, we had lots of lovely people join us on our tours and everyone enjoyed themselves in the sunshine. As well as finding out more about some of the people buried in JOC, the discussions over a cup of coffee and a cake after our tours are always well received and, inevitably, we always find out additional information and stories from these nice chats, all of which adds to the growing body of knowledge about Jesmond Old Cemetery.

We are very grateful to Chris Clarke and his colleagues from the Jesmond Community Forum for their help in facilitating our involvement in the Festival and, if you’ve never been to any of the many events on offer before, make sure you do next year, including giving us a visit!!

Ray and his wellies talking about Arthur Munro Sutherland

James highlighting the life of Julia Darling.

Gary and Susie entertaining their group of visitors!!

Tea, coffee and craic afterwards….

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Ladybird Capital Of The North.

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The Ladybirds are gathering…

As well as being a working cemetery, Jesmond Old Cemetery is also an integral component in the City’s wildlife corridor and hosts an abundance of insects, birds, flowers and trees. Of particular interest at this time of year is the lovely Ladybird and our friend from the Natural History Society of Northumbria, James Common, has described JOC as the Ladybird capital of the north!! As well as having James helping us with identification of our Ladybirds, we also have the input of Chris Wren, who is a keen photographer, and he has provided us with the following images and text, describing the various Ladybirds he has come across in JOC so far this year.

The above image shows two Harlequin Ladybirds (large and red with black spots), three Cream-spot Ladybird (brown with white spots), one 10-spot Ladybird (orange/red at the back) and one Pine Ladybird (small and black, with red spots).

The above image shows three Harlequin Ladybirds, one Cream-spot (top left) and one Orange Ladybird.

The image above shows all Harlequin Ladybirds, with several of each of the commonest colour forms.

This final image shows SIX species in one view…. they are: Orange Ladybird, 2-spot Ladybird (in two different colour forms), Cream-spot Ladybird, Harlequin Ladybird (in three different colour forms), 10-spot Ladybird and the Pine Ladybird.

So….. you have a photo guide and names….why not get yourself to JOC and see if you can spot any. For further help with identification, have a look here on the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s website.

If you want to see more fantastic images from Chris, check out his work here and here.

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