By Sarah Perkins
Initially Lest We Forget was sparked by a brainstorming session with my agent. We were looking for a project that would generate new interest from prospective clients but at the same time I wanted to get involved in work I would enjoy, that I had a personal interest in and therefore said a little about me. So, Lest We Forget began its days as My Secret London, a subject close to my heart and one I knew I could get stuck into… but where to begin?
I’m lucky enough to live in the heart of this wonderful town. A stone’s throw from where I decided to start is the Cross Bones Graveyard. I had always been intrigued by this place and even more so once I glimpsed at the growing, makeshift garden and shrine through the gates. My original plan for this artwork was very different from where I finished up; at the beginning it was more about the secret garden, that, up until recently, had been hidden behind a wall. As I got more involved in the history I found I had a bigger story to tell. At the heart of this story are The Winchester Geese and I wanted to commemorate these women, having been forgotten for so long. I decided to give them their own stained-glass window. In the window stands the ‘single female’ her white apron the uniform of the Winchester Geese. Surrounding her are her flock, plants/life, ribbons/symbols of femininity that adorn the gates, buildings past and present. It is as much about living with the dead as it is commemorating them. This bigger story of how we remember our dead and keep them alive is how I stepped into Lest We Forget.
After Cross Bones I discovered The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park. Started by the painter George Frederic Watt, it was a memorial to ordinary people who died saving the lives of others.
Lastly the Pet Cemetery started in 1881 by the gatekeeper at Victoria Lodge, Hyde Park. The first dog was Cherry, a Maltese Terrier who used to visit the park regularly. We are all souls of this glorious continuum that is London.