Words from the Graveyard 

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Author Paul Slade has diverse interests that have provided the public with books on murder ballads and the USA’s first Black-owned record label. Now, Paul has diverted his attention to Southwark’s renowned Cross Bones Graveyard and published The Outcast Dead, writes Michael Holland.

The writer told the News he become a writer soon after graduating and needed a job: “Journalism looked more bearable than most,” he tells me with a sardonic smile. 

“I’ve always loved delving into London’s dark and often bloody past to uncover the forgotten stories there,” he begins, “so Cross Bones fits that obsession perfectly.”

Over recent years, Paul has been “pulling together information from several centuries’ worth of surviving documents and combining this with my own interviews with everyone involved in Cross Bones today.”

The Outcast Dead combines a history of Southwark’s murky past with the continuing story of the graveyard sine the Bankside Open Spaces Trust took over from a group of passionate campaigners.

It takes in the Borough’s role as home to London’s legal brothels, its struggles with plague, Shakespeare’s time on Bankside, the days of the body-snatchers and its warehouse raves in the 1990s. 

We see the beginnings of the campaign to save Cross Bones, meet all the main players and conclude with an oral history illustrating the many rows there since BOST took over the site in 2013.

“One of the campaigners I interview in the book describes Cross Bones as: ‘Two thousand years of history from the bottom up in a place that’s no bigger than a postage stamp.’ If a site like that isn’t worth preserving and celebrating, then what is?”


Amazon. £11.99



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