Children help tell the story of Southend burial ground inhabitants

Stories of 12 historical people from Southend recently went on show as part of local not-for-profit company Blade Education’s ‘Shared Spaces Project’, with the erection of two permanent Heritage Trail boards.

Children from the local Westborough School chose the 12 stories from the 8,000-plus available to tell at the North Road Burial Ground in Westcliff-on-Sea.

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Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Essex Heritage Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, Trusthouse Foundation and Blade Education, the project has enabled children to reconnect with the history of their town.

Among the stories included on the boards, which will be a permanent feature at the burial ground, are those of the first person buried at the site, back in 1881, and the oldest person buried there.

“This is a real milestone for Shared Spaces,” said the project’s leader, Beth Hooper. “These boards are a link to the amazing people of Southend and also serve to remind all of us that the people buried here were real people who lived, loved, did some incredible things and were eventually laid to rest in North Road.”

Blade Education is also producing a leaflet that will be available online and at local libraries, so that individuals, schools and other organisations can come to the North Road Burial Ground with the resources they need to have a fuller picture of their ancestors.

Beth continued: “Each of the stories on our Heritage Trail boards has a link that you can scan with your smartphone, which will take you to a dedicated webpage that has the full story of the lives of these extraordinary people, and for all of us without a smartphone, we have prepared a paper version of the information that can be downloaded from our website at”

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