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Ex. 1.3.3. Garden Cemeteries A844

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Ex. 1.3.3. Garden Cemeteries A844

Now read an article by James Stevens Curl, ‘John Claudius Loudon and the Garden Cemetery Movement’ (1983, pp. 113–56). What does Curl suggest that Loudon wanted to achieve through good design? Identify Loudon’s principal source for improved design.


The main aim seems to be to serve as a record of the meaning of a national community and to enhance its public face (not least in dealing with matters of life-hygiene) and good mental health. In thgis it seems to be happy to remember the dead but to honour them as a past rather than a present or future presence. The real purpose of cemeteries seems to be to display the values of the present and its ability to let go of the past and display their aesthetic taste, belief in progress, and public hygiene lack of obsession with the past for its own sake. It rather rejoices in the freedom offered to the forces of decomposition (p.137). It makes a lot of the defeat of mawkish belief in the power and dread of death and the dead (138).

The description of the Glasgow Necropolis makes me want to see it, although the terms of praise are utilitarian largely (‘economy. Security, and picturesque effect’. (139) The link of taste to ‘instruction and education’ (141) shows the way in which future needs predominate over those of past or indeed the mere present. The cemetery is a ‘record’ that keeps records.

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