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Beau Jackson
Beau Jackson

Dead London

Here I came once more upon the black powder in the streets and upondead bodies. I saw altogether about a dozen in the length of theFulham Road. They had been dead many days, so that I hurried quicklypast them. The black powder covered them over, and softened theiroutlines. One or two had been disturbed by dogs.

Dead London

Where there was no black powder, it was curiously like a Sunday inthe City, with the closed shops, the houses locked up and the blindsdrawn, the desertion, and the stillness. In some places plunderershad been at work, but rarely at other than the provision and wineshops. A jeweller's window had been broken open in one place, butapparently the thief had been disturbed, and a number of gold chainsand a watch lay scattered on the pavement. I did not trouble to touchthem. Farther on was a tattered woman in a heap on a doorstep; thehand that hung over her knee was gashed and bled down her rusty browndress, and a smashed magnum of champagne formed a pool across thepavement. She seemed asleep, but she was dead.

Here and there they were scattered, nearly fifty altogether, inthat great gulf they had made, overtaken by a death that must haveseemed to them as incomprehensible as any death could be. To me alsoat that time this death was incomprehensible. All I knew was thatthese things that had been alive and so terrible to men were dead.For a moment I believed that the destruction of Sennacherib had beenrepeated, that God had repented, that the Angel of Death had slainthem in the night.

And as I looked at this wide expanse of houses and factories andchurches, silent and abandoned; as I thought of the multitudinoushopes and efforts, the innumerable hosts of lives that had gone tobuild this human reef, and of the swift and ruthless destruction thathad hung over it all; when I realised that the shadow had been rolledback, and that men might still live in the streets, and this dear vastdead city of mine be once more alive and powerful, I felt a wave ofemotion that was near akin to tears.

The closure of inner London graveyards catalysed new debates about the proper ways in which to dispose of the dead. Intertwined with this was the continuation of prior concerns about the effects that living close to dead bodies had on the health of the living.

This year 2020, marks 102 years since the end of the First World War, the perfect time to reacquaint ourselves with the solemn stone tributes the war created. The Great War of 1914-18, as it was known until an even bigger conflagration broke out in 1939, had a massive impact on the population of Britain. Every community sent men to fight; the vast majority had men who did not return. With something in the region of one million dead as a result of the war, the scale of the slaughter far exceeded that of any previous conflict.

Its origins date back thousands of years, derived from the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people. They saw death as an integral, ever-present part of life, and believed mourning the dead to be disrespectful.

47-year-old Nadja De Jager and her two sons, nine-year-old Alexander and seven-year-old Maximus were found dead in the Mayfield Road home in Belvedere at 11.50am on Thursday after concerns were raised for their welfare. 041b061a72

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