Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney, London

Meath Gardens, Roman Road, Bethnal Green

Victoria Park Cemetery was a private cemetery, close to the main park which gave it the name. The impressive gateway pictured on the right with ‘VPC’ and ‘1845’ over the entrance from Bullards Place (now Usk Street) dates from this time. As can be seen below, 1860 to 1862 was a particularly bad time for the Reffell family. At that time it was stated that ‘…In one part of this burial-place a large space is set apart for the graves of the children of the working classes. . . One of these graves will hold about twenty bodies in layers.’

However, like most other inner London cemeteries and churchyards by the end of that century, maintenance had deteriorated to such an extent that it was regarded as ‘a disgrace and a scandal’. In 1891, the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association took over the grounds and cleared out the burial ground including all bar two gravestones. It was then reopened in 1894 as a public park (in the same way as Spa Fields) by the Duke of York and renamed Meath Gardens in honour of the Association’s founder, the Earl of Meath.

Those known to have been buried here:
George Caleb Reffell, burial date: 25 March 1860, age: 5
Mary Isabella Reffell, burial date: 25 July 1860, age: 6 months
Daniel Reffell, burial date: 2 August 1861, age: 6 months
Emanuel Reffell, burial date: 28 August 1861, age: 5
Martha Reffell, burial date: 26 September 1861, age: 30
Isaac Alfred Reffell, burial date: 24 November 1862, age: 5 months