At the end of September we took a trip to Bath and Bristol and had a great afternoon at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol. This beautiful place is still used as a cemetery the first person being buried here in 1839.
Unlike modern ‘in a row’ cemeteries, it was designed as a landscaped garden and woodland where you could choose your spot. Today work continues to undergo restoration. There are a number of grade 2 listed Mortuary Chapels and Monuments, war graves and plots of notable people – the inscriptions add to the beauty and interest.
As a heritage site and final place of remembrance of over 300,000 people, the wooded 45 acre site is also a haven for 450 species of wildlife …. and home to possibly the scariest accessible toilet in the UK.
The toilets under the cafe …
So we had a lovely sunny day wandering around, a snack at the very modern cafe and then it was time for the loo.
You take the lift down underground and on exiting you see signs saying that if you might be affected by the location and content of death and cremation – then maybe take a trip back up to the surface.
This area is the crematorium basement of the Non Conformist Chapel . Peek around the corner and you can enjoy viewing the newly-renovated building and star attractions – a 1920’s cremation furnace, catafalque coffin lift and cremulator – the machine that crushes bones into ashes for disposal – just a short way from where they were actually used.
Up to 30 people were cremated every day in its hey-day. So if dead people (past and present) are not your thing, then these toilets are not for you.
Plunged into darkness.
The toilets are modern and very large in a cold crypt area around the corner from the bone pulverisers. This is not for the faint hearted.
So I’m sitting on the loo, in a crematorium basement, feet away from the recent dead and bone crunching machines of the past – when the lights go out.
Blasted things were on a timer – and disabled people need longer than a few minutes to transfer to and from wheelchairs etc and do what they’ve got to do.
Dead people don’t bother me – it’s the living ones that are the problem. I’m not bothered neither about the dark, so apart from being cold, it was actually quite a good loo and you could even have got a portable hoist in there easily.