Bad News

19 06 2014

Unfortunately we have made no progress to date. I have been based back in the UK for a number of years and nothing came of the conversations with a local who initially showed interest in producing a photo catalogue of the tomb stones in the cemetery.

If there is sufficient interest I would be happy to try and coordinate the raising of funds to pay a local to do the job. Alternatively I might do the job myself on a future visit to Brazil. I am hoping to be there in September this year, but I am not sure I will be able to make time for this. if I can I will.  


Good News

26 02 2013

As I do not know when I will be back to Recife myself, I contacted someone in Recife who I thought may be interested to help undertake the photographic inventory of the grave stones in the British Cemetery in Recife. Miriam Thomas agreed to see if she can help and we are trying to work out how we might make it happen. I hope we might have more news soon.


23 02 2013

Unfortunately I am no longer in Recife, and was unable to take the planned photographic inventory of the tomb stones before I left. I do plan to visit again at some point, but cannot say when. At that time I will try to complete the project as I get so many requests for information. In the meantime I am afraid I am likely to be of little help.

The Overseas Cemeteries Trust

10 02 2009
On January 19th I posted to this site an article about the establishment of The Overseas Cemetery Trust, established by Lt Col Anthony Lake, with the support of the Duke of Edinburgh, to take care for the crumbling British cemeteries across the world.

At that time my research suggested the organisation was not active and there were no signs that it had been. I had also tried to contact Lt Col Lake, and was awaiting a reply.

I can now tell you, I am in contact and we have exchanged emails. I can also tell you, the Trust is dormant not dead; it should be registered as a charity soon; a website will be live soon; and plans to revive the project are in the pipeline.

Now that we are in touch with each other I will be able to get progress updates. Any news I will publish here.

Project Progress

1 02 2009
We are still at the very start of the project, but next week I hope to meet Mr Dobbin, administrator of the British cemetery Recife, to establish the facts regarding records, cemetery maintenance costs and the current financial position. Also to discuss plans to make a photographic and documentary inventory of the graves.

I am in contact with people at the British cemetery in Salvador, Bahia, who plan to do the same. And, I am researching details and contacts of other British cemeteries in Brazil.

Once catalogued, I hope to coordinate research into the histories of those buried in Recife, and in other cities. Pieced together, the information will help in the writing of a book on the British presence in Brazil. The book project is already attracting interest from experienced researchers and writers.

These projects could both be part of plans to stage a British Week or Month in Brazil; to look at the British presence here: Past (the book) Present (commercial, cultural & Social interests today), and future (the establishment of new commercial, cultural and social initiatives). In the coming weeks I will discuss these ideas with interested parties in the UK and in Brazil.

A further update, following my meetings this week, will follow soon.

The Start of a Project

19 01 2009

The aim of this site is to gather all information about the British Cemetery in Recife, the capital city of Pernambuco, Brazil. It is part of a larger project to document all the history of the British presence in the region.

From January 2009 we will begin an inventory and photographic library of the graves in the cemetery. Once complete we will begin researching the histories of all those buried here.


Crumbling British Cemeteries Across the World

19 01 2009

Whilst researching about British cemeteries on the Internet I came across an interesting article by the Daily Telegraph (29/03/2007).  The article was announcing that the Duke of Edinburgh was backing a new charity that would care for crumbling British cemeteries across the world.

The charity was being established by Lt Col Anthony Lake, a retiring British infantry officer. Having found graveyards in disrepair in Afghanistan he said he felt “an overwhelming urge to work to save these little pockets of history before they are lost for ever.”

Lake conducted some cursory research into who was officially responsible for maintaining the burial places of the men, women and children who lived, worked and died overseas in the service of the British Empire. The answer – no one – knocked him flat and drove him to establish the new charity that the Duke of Edinburgh agreed to support. It is named The Overseas Cemeteries Trust.

Lt Col Lake estimates that there are three million British-era graves in need of repair spread across most of the countries of the world – from the historic war cemeteries of the Crimea, Egypt and Waterloo to the civilian graveyards that record the far-flung trading posts of Empire in places such as Macau and Panama. He planned to start work in India.

The trust which aims to raise funding from corporate donors has a priary aim of preserving the fast-disappearing general historical record for future generations. Lake says, “”The trust is most definitely not about glorifying British imperial history,” he says. “These cemeteries are ‘al-fresco museums’ which, in the modern era of cheap air travel, can become an invaluable historical, genealogical and educational resource.” He also believes, “The people lying in these cemeteries were in many respects the forefathers of globalisation and they may yet play a role in fostering understanding between young people who are growing up in an increasingly global world.”

Having read what sounded like an interesting avenue to explore in Relation to our own project in Recife I tried to get more information from the website address quoted in the article, but the link does not work. I did some more research and managed to track down the email address for Lt Col Lake, and have already emailed him. When I have any news I will post a follow up to this story.

In the meantime you may wish to read the full Daily Telegraph article