The Hardy Tree

Thomas Hardy's tree, spreading it's protective bulk over tombstones at St Pancras Churchyard in London, as mentioned in last Sunday's episode of, The Genius of British Art'.
The story behind why these tombstones are resting against the tree is as follows:

The plaque accompanying the tree explains that "before turning to writing full time," Thomas Hardy "studied architecture in London from 1862-67 under Mr. Arlhur Blomfield, an architect based in Covent Garden. During the 1860s the Midland Railway line was being built over part of the original St. Pancras Churchyard. Blomfield was commissioned by the Bishop of London to supervise the proper exhumation of human remains and dismantling of tombs. He passed this unenviable task to his protegé Thomas Hardy in. c.l865. Hardy would have spent many hours in St. Pancras Churchyard . . . overseeing the careful removal of bodies and tombs from the land on which the railway was being built. The headstones around this ashtree (Fraxinus excelsior) would have been placed here about that time. Note how the tree has since grown in amongst the stones.
Thank you for allowing this to be shared Jacqueline!


I never knew about that tree, its an amazing piece of organic sculpture.
Will said…
Thomas Hardy's tree and the Midland Railway! How can anyone fail to love your blog? I like to think of how St. Pancras station must have seemed like a modern monster being constructed through 'old' London when Hardy was clearing his graves, and today we revere it as a magnificent part of 'old' London that must be preserved! They have done a great job though, and to step off the Eurostar into St. Pancras today is quite an experience - Grand Travelling for the modern age! It certainly counts as visually interesting with a British slant...