The Enchanted Woodland has a history going back to the turn of the 20th Century when it was owned by the Joyce Green Hospital.
Most of the plants and trees we find today in the area we call the Enchanted Woodland have developed naturally since the early 1950’s when use of the area by the Joyce Green Hospital ended. Many local people know the woodland was originally the cemetery of that hospital. The staff of the Joyce Green Hospital cared for people with infectious diseases. The building, along with two other river hospitals, was built in the first few years of the 20th century replacing the hospital ships, Endymion and Castalia.
Although many burials took place in its grounds up until 1951, over 80% of the burials occurred in just one year, over 100 years ago, in 1902. This was the year that saw London and surrounding areas devastated by a severe smallpox epidemic. Other than just one remaining gravestone, the only other signs that this area was a burial ground are the yew trees which are traditionally planted in churchyards and cemeteries.
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Private Luke Ashmore, 8815, Reserve Battalion, Irish Guards, who died 3 September 1915, aged 26 years. Son of Mrs Florence Loftus of Knockbane House, Palatine, Carlow. Buried in Joyce Green Cemetery, internment number 895, grave number 150, on 7 September 1915. His religion was Church of England. The CWG Commission noted that there was an alternative commemoration on the Screen Wall at Gravesend Cemetery.
Air Mechanic 2nd Class, Arthur George Squibbs, 327454, RAF, who died 26 April 1920 aged 18. Buried in Joyce Green Cemetery, Internment number 917, grave number 171, on 3 May 1920. His religion was Church of England. The CWG Commission noted, again, that there was an alternative commemoration on the Screen Wall at Gravesend Cemetery.
Their graves are no longer marked although the Trust does have a hand drawn map (circa 1930) which shows the grave positions. Unfortunately The Trust would only be able to give an approximation of the grave area.
An approximate GPS position for the two graves is:
Latitude 51 degrees 27 minutes 4.56 seconds North
Longitude 0 degrees 13 minutes 8.36 seconds East
Both gentlemen are commemorated in the United Kingdom Screen Wall at Gravesend Cemetery.
For more information please visit the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at www.cwgc.org. or the website for the North West Kent Family History Society - http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk
The 1902 historic Cobbled Path that joins the Thames, Joyce Green Hospital, The Cemetery and leads to Joyce Green Lane. Only certain sections remain as Bob Dunn Way and the new The Bridge site have cut through some of the old road way. This section can be seen between Joyce Green Lane and Cornwall Road.