You know how it is when you think you know a place, and then you're taken by surprise ...
Well, I always thought that I knew the Jericho locality of Oxford fairly well. I spent a few weeks in the summer of, gulp, 1977 doing a project for the Oxfordshire Museum about working class housing there. Yesterday, I was back in Jericho - a very occasional visitor there in recent decades. I popped in at the spell-binding St Barnabas, took a stroll across Port Meadow, and walking down Walton Street on my way back, stumbled across the entrance to St Sepuchre's cemetery. I don't recall ever noticing it before.
It's one of three Oxford cemeteries opened in the 1840s or thereabouts, as the church graveyards become congested beyond redemption. St Sepulchre's has its own Wikipedia entry, and a very impressive website (as befits north Oxford). It's now hemmed in on all sides, largely by modern buildings fronting on Waltonwell Road. Among the gravestones, one stands out - featuring a racing car heading in to the sunset.
The story of Frankie Tayler's life and death have captured the attention of other bloggers - here's one. And it is a remarkable, and tragic tale. Frankie, a machenic on the MG racing team, died in 1934 at the age of 28 - his widow Phyllis, whose ashes are also interred here, lived another 66 years. And there's also another memorial plaque, I suppose also an internment of ashes, from 2009 - of Margaret Knight, aged 96, who I imagine was Frankie's sister.
The story of Frankie Tayler's death on the Isle of Man is told on the board by the entrance to the cemetery - and I've posted that below.
Kaye Don (Kaye Ernest Donsky) lived until 1981, and was quite a celebrity as a car and speedboat racer and later set up Ambassador motorcycles. His entry in Wikipedia gives a detailed account of the accident on the Isle of Man, for which he was sentenced to four months in jail for manslaughter. He was released early on health grounds.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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