Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Hardy Tree

I first stumbled across the Hardy Tree many years ago when I lived in the King’s Cross area where I was born and bred. Revisiting it on the off chance today whilst driving past I was reminded of how magnificent and rare a sight it truly is.

Set within Old St Pancras churchyard (famed by Charles Dickens in his 1859 novel ‘Tale of Two Cities’) on Pancras Road the Hardy Tree boasts a unique mix of history. Named after novelist and poet Thomas Hardy, this ash tree has been in situ since the mid 19th Century. During the 1860s when the Midland railway was being built over part of the churchyard Thomas Hardy was tasked with the gruesome job of overseeing the exhumation and removal of the many bodies and tombs.
Clearly visible are the headstones which were placed around the base of the tree over 150 years ago. Revisiting the tree many years after I first found it whilst walking around the churchyard it’s really rather interesting to see how they continue to grow between the gravestones and propel them upwards.
I think that this Camden site forms a fantastic piece of history which I personally have not and could not forget. I urge you to go and take a look for yourselves as it is quite extraordinary and the images I have taken on a rainy day simply do not do it justice.
Opening hours are generally during daylight which is a blessing for all first time visitors who are unaware that there is a coroner’s office located around the back on Camley Street, which some may find a bit spooky...

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