Supporting Charlton Pet Cemetery

Secretary of Kidbrooke with Hornfair Conservatives, Toni Hale, writes:

“Recently walking in the Kidbrooke and Hornfair Ward I came across the pet cemetery near Hornfair Park. It was a strange sense of discovery as it is hidden behind the tall flats on Shooters Hill Road. However, the discovery was not mine alone because it has actually been there since the 1930s, probably at the same time when the Lido was being built. When I came across the site it was rather shabby with overgrown shrubbery and weeds as high as me, growing from the cracks in the pavement. There seems to have been some form of seating in the past around the trees that sit there now however, they to are broken and dishevelled.

Since my first encounter Clean Sweep have been in to tidy it up a bit and now it looks much better however, it is still in need of some tender loving care. There is a lot of moss growing on the paving slabs and this is hiding the gravestones that lay between them. Some of the gravestones are in the border areas of the garden but are also in need of help.

When leaving the site we decided to find out about the historical side of the site and began our quest to unravel the story behind the disused pet cemetery in Charlton. We started with the Blue Cross and found out that they ran kennels here at the beginning of the war and many of the animals buried there are dogs who served on the front line in the Second World War.

Some of the service men left their dogs here while they were away fighting the war but were welcomed with open paws when they returned to collect their animals. This was also a place for the injured animals of service men who served in WWII. The animals were taken care of until they were able to return home with their owners, as you can see in the pictures below.

This has been an exciting venture to find out that this small area of land has historical importance and it should really be a place to look after and protect. A place for people to visit or just sit and relax as the place does have a sense of peace. We are continuing our quest to find out more about the history of this site, which has led us to the PDSA who have kindly agreed with the Blue Cross, to help in our search for more information.

We are nearly at the end of the research and have a lot of valuable information about the pet cemetery which is great news. However, where do we go from here?  Well we are arranging a ‘clean up day’ at the site to get it back to good order. In the spring we intend to achieve this with providing extra planting to spruce the area up, clearing any weeds and cleaning the gravestones, fixing the seating area and adding some bird boxes. We will be working in partnership with other organisations who will help to make it a better place. Then we will run an event there showcasing all the information we have found out regarding the pet cemetery. It will be a place where we can provide Information to the public about the gallantry animals who served in the war and helped the service men and women who fought for us. We will have relevant information that ties the Blue Cross to the site and the visitors who ventured here. It will be an exciting time to have such historical importance associated to this piece of land that sits on our ward.”

If you would like to help or have any more information regarding the pet cemetery then please contact Toni Hale at cappconsultancy@live.co.uk