The grave beneath this yew tree is that of ten workmen who died in a fall from the roof of the Crystal Palace during its reconstruction at Sydenham on 15th August 1853.
The Kentish Mercury and Home Counties Advertiser carried a detailed account of the "frightful accident":
On Monday afternoon, shortly after 2 o'clock, one of the most frightful and fatal accidents by the falling of scaffolding occurred at the works of the new Crystal Palace, and which has resulted in the death of 12 men, and severe injuries to others.
A very large mass of framework, apparently of great strength, had fallen from its position, some 180 feet high, carrying with it part of the girders and several columns of the north side of the nave. The staging had fallen inwards in the direction of the central nave, carrying with it a vast quantity of iron and woodwork. Six of the poor men were picked up quite dead close to each other, the position in which they were found indicating they must have fallen at an angle of something like forty degrees. Three others were found dead at a short distance, and one poor fellow lived for a few moments, but was not sufficiently collected to give any explanation of how the accident occurred.
The precise cause of the disaster will probably never be discovered.
The funeral of the workmen was a big occasion. The Kentish Mercury describes it:
The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon (18 August 1853) in the churchyard of New Sydenham Church - an elegant modern structure, embosomed in luxuriant foliage, and situated in a most romantic spot. The day was observed as a solemn holiday in the district, and there was a total cessation of all work within the Palace.
The mournful procession formed in the central nave, and as the clock chimed three it slowly emerged from the building and wended its way along the beautiful road which conducts to the church. Each coffin was followed by its own particular mourners and at the rear of the last came the whole body of the workmen, numbering some thousand persons. In its course the procession was swelled by fresh additions, until when it reached the church there must have been between 2000 and 3000 persons following.
In memory of [ten names] Who died 15th August 1853 by a fall from the roof of the Crystal Palace. Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world have mercy on us. [Around perimeter:] In the midst of life we are in death for of whom may we seek for succour but of thee O lord.
Left hand plaque:
In memory of the leaders of the local scout groups that cared for the scout memorial.
Skipper Gandolfi, 1904 - 1990.
Right hand plaque:
And Kim Mayo, 1907 - 1999.
Kim inspired the research that gave FONC the Leysdown tragedy and the memorial that now marks the boys grave.
[on the left] The saloon steamer Princess Alice returning from a pleasure excursion was wrecked off Tripcock Point by collision with the steam collier "Bywell Castle" on the night of September 3rd 1878.
[top right] It was computed that seven hundred men women and children were on board. Of these about 550 were drowned. One hundred and twenty were buried near this place.
[bottom right] To the memory of those who perished this cross was erected by a national sixpenny subscription to which more than 23000 persons contributed.
I have no information about Railway deaths tree. Please contact me if you do.
In memory of the travelling public and Railway Workers, who lost their lives or were injured whilst travelling on the railways or working for the railway industry.
This tree was planted by the rail unions ASLEF, RMT and TSSA on the 29 March 2001, 'International Rail Safety Day.'
This tablet is dedicated to the memory of the engine room staff of the S.S. 'Titanic' who gave their lives at the post of duty when the vessel sank after striking an iceberg on April 15th, 1912.
Joseph Bell, Chief Engineer.....