Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney, London

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, 1861 was a particularly bad year 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 inner London cemeteries and churchyards by the end of the 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 laid out the old burial ground as a public park (in the same way as Spa Fields). The grounds were duly opened in 1894 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: 25/3/1860, age: 5
Mary Isabella, burial date: 25/7/1860, age 6 months
Daniel Reffell, burial date: 2/8/1861, age: 6 months
Emanuel Reffell, burial date: 28/8/1861, age: 5
Martha Reffell, burial date: 26/9/1861, age: 30
Isaac Alfred Reffell, burial date: 24/11/1862, age: 5 months