1892, the Chairman, of the Metropolitan
Public Garden Association, Lord Meath wrote to Passmore Edwards
asking for assistance in the work of the association. His reply was:-
||" My Lord
In answer to your letter asking me to subscribe towards expenses in
utilising for public purposes the large parish churchyard of Woolwich,
I cheerfully comply with your request. The very last thing I would
sanction would be the desecration of "God's Acre". A graveyard,
to my mind, is holy ground, and I never knowingly pass one without
raising my hat. But for the sake of the living, and particularly in
this overcrowded metropolis, where millions of our fellow citizens
pass mostly, comfortless lives, I would make churchyards sweet resting
places for the weary, and picturesque recreation grounds for the young.
You say that Woolwich churchyard is about four acres in extent and
that it is near the centre of the town and situated on high ground,
that it overlooks a fine view of the river Thames, that it would make
a delightful garden, and that it the estimated cost of preparing it
for public use would be about £1200. The object aimed at is
so good, and the derivable benefit so certain, that I most willingly
respond to your appeal and undertake to meet the whole of the estimated
charge. Please accept this as my New Year's gift to Woolwich, and
believe me, -
J Passmore Edwards."
the opening in May 1895 St
Mary's graveyard, which had long been a wilderness, put on a new
garb and bloomed with Flowers. The garden was opened by the Duchess
of Fife, accompanied by the Duke. Lord Meath said that previous attempts
to put the graveyard in good order had been made for over 10 years.
It was only, with the generous aid of Passmore Edwards that is had
been possible. 5 years later Passmore Edwards added a drinking
fountain and provided funds to keep the garden in good order.
Although laid out by the MPGA the garden remained under the control
of and maintained by the local authority.