Austin's Blog

 

Harwood Park – an oasis of quiet contemplation

April 9th, 2017    Author:

Harwood Park – an oasis of quiet contemplation

 After a loved one has died, it can be comforting to return to their place of rest and spend some undisturbed time in quiet contemplation. At Harwood Park Crematorium and Memorial Gardens in Stevenage, we have 25 acres of grounds cocooned in open countryside that you are welcome to visit whenever you need to.

It’s a lovely place to enjoy the beauty of nature as you wander through Cherry Avenue, take in the majesty of Chestnut Avenue or breathe in the scent of flowers in our Rose and Trellis gardens. Our well-kept grounds also include Formal Memorial Gardens, a pond and children’s garden.

Many people come to Harwood Park regularly to lay fresh flowers or tend memorials that are dotted in special areas throughout the grounds. With a personal memorial garden, the ashes of your loved one can be scattered or buried within your chosen plot, accompanied by a feature tree, rose or shrub and an engraved memorial plaque. We have a choice of plots in different shapes, some of which are suitable for the ashes of up to four people – a lovely way to keep loved ones together.

Our memorials also include benches and seats, with an inscription dedicated to the person who has passed. Located by the pond and within our woodland areas, among other places, these make wonderful places to sit and quietly gather your thoughts.

You may wish to come to Harwood Park to visit what’s known as a ‘living memorial’ – a memorial tree planted in your loved one’s name. We have chestnut, birch and woodland trees, all planted as saplings so you can watch them grow and mature. There are memorial trees throughout our grounds and woodlands, all accompanied by a memorial tablet or plaque of your choice. Ashes can be scattered or buried by the tree.

All our memorials are available to you, whether or not the funeral was held at Harwood Park. We want our grounds to be somewhere you feel welcomed and comforted. A quiet, unhurried place you can return to time and again to reflect, remember and reminisce.

Tranquil setting of Harwood Park Crematorium

Tranquil setting of Harwood Park Crematorium

* If you would like help choosing a memorial for Harwood Park, please call us on 01438 815555.

The fashion for Victorian mourning

February 14th, 2017    Author:

After her beloved Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria dressed in black for the rest of her 40-year reign. It sparked a mourning fashion for women, many of whom would refer to journals or household manuals such as The Queen and Cassell’s for advice on what to wear.

The dress code was dictated by different mourning stages, which for a widow would last at least two years. In the first stage – full mourning – a widow would wear head-to-toe black, including a scratchy crape veil. Depending on the household income, her dress might be made of paramatta silk, cashmere or a cheaper fabric like bombazine.

After a year and one day, the widow moved into ‘second mourning’. At this stage – which lasted nine months – she could wear her veil lifted back over her head and also allow herself a little ornamentation, perhaps some fabric trim added to her dress or a piece of mourning jewellery.

The last stage was three to six months of ‘half mourning’ during which time widows could gradually move to a less sombre way of dressing. They could dispense with their black mourning dresses – known as ‘widow’s weeds’ – and wear their normal clothes, albeit in respectful colours such as grey, purple, violet and mauve. For this final mourning stage, the fashion became less formal and stiff, with the introduction of fabrics like velvet and silk along with lace, fringe and ribbons.

In the Victorian era, men didn’t apply such a strict fashion code. While a widower would mourn for two years, he’d simply wear his usual dark suit with black gloves, a cravat and hatband.

Wearing mourning clothes became less fashionable in the Edwardian era and its popularity dwindled further after the first and second wars. Today, many people reserve dressing in black just for the deceased’s funeral, though there’s no formal dress code for wearing black or a dark colour to a service. In fact, any colour goes so long as it’s in keeping with the wishes of the deceased or their family.

If you’re arranging a funeral, it’s useful to let attendees know any special clothes requirements. Your loved one might have talked about wanting their funeral to be a sea of bright colours or there may be a favourite colour the deceased always wore. They could perhaps have been known for their spotty scarves or mismatching socks, which you could ask people to wear at the service. These personal touches can help to reflect your loved one’s personality and strengthen people’s memories of them.

* If you need help planning a funeral, please call us on 01438 316623