Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Sad news from Old St Pancras: The Hardy Tree has fallen

The Camden New Journal reports:

The landmark Hardy Tree has fallen.

The tree in St Pancras Gardens was famous for the gravestones that piled up at its roots by architect’s assistant Thomas Hardy, better known as the author of novels like Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Camden Council had warned in the summer that the tree had been weakened by a heavy storm and would almost certainly fall at some stage. It had been fenced off for some time.

In a statement in July, a Town Hall spokesperson said: “We are looking at ways to commemorate this tree, and its story, when it does eventually fall. The council recognises the importance of the veteran Hardy Tree, both for our local communities and nationally, which is why we’ve taken measures over the last eight years to manage this stage of its lifecycle, keeping it safe for visitors.”

When the Midland Railway built it's line from Bedford to St Pancras, part of the churchyard of Old St Pancras Church was sacrificed to make way for it.

The man in charge of clearing the burials in the path of the line was a young Thomas Hardy. It's no wonder his novels turned out like they did.

Hardy had some of the redundant gravestones piles around the base of an ash tree in the remaining portion of the churchyard, and its roots later spread amongst them. It is this tree that has fallen.

You can see the tree as it is today in Richard Osland's picture from Twitter, while my photo above shows it as it used to be.

No comments: