The Women of Abney Park

An International Women’s Day tour
Led by Sam Perrin and Romany Reagan
Saturday 9th March, 2pm


Join your guides, Romany and Sam (aka ‘Doyennes of Death’), as we pay homage to the fearless women interred in Abney Park – pioneers who ripped up the rule books and whose stories are inspiring, surprising, and poignant.
The nurse whose two-fingered salute to bureaucracy invoked the wrath (and later respect) of Florence Nightingale; the Suffragette incarcerated and force-fed in Holloway Prison; and the aeronaut who risked life and limb navigating her hot air balloon above England’s skyline: these women both suffered and soared in making their marks in their landscapes and ours.

Abney Park isn’t without performers and humanitarians, including the famed ‘Wizard Queen and Mesmerist’ and one of the first female cross-dressing music hall superstars who took aim at the swells of the day in song. Behind every great man is (another) great woman: the Mother of the Salvation Army was as much a tour de force in creating the organisation as her husband was.

Tickets: £12 / £10
Book here


‘Doyennes of Death’ Mission Statement

Cemeteries are our outdoor archives. Tangible time capsules. Accessible fragments of our collective heritage and individual tales of love and loss. Doyennes of Death are a two-woman team of storytellers who share their love of history and remarkable lives of the interred through the medium of cemetery tours throughout London’s iconic Victorian garden cemeteries. Beginning as the brainchild of cemetery historians Romany Reagan and Samantha Perrin, the Doyennes of Death project offers a peek through the veil into the hidden histories within the arcadian environs of London’s Magnificent Seven Victorian garden cemeteries from the feminine perspective. Uncovering the lost stories of the fascinating women buried in these cemeteries, Doyennes of Death are researching and writing a suite of seven cemetery tours, ‘Women of the Magnificent Seven’, beginning with the inaugural tour: ‘Women of Abney Park’. A mix of tragic figures and fearless avengers, Doyennes of Death tours celebrate the lives of London’s forgotten heroines amongst the crumbling stones and grey ladies. It’s Victoriana with brass knuckles.
Romany Reagan bio:

Romany Reagan received her PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in performing heritage in 2018, with a focus on community engagement. Her practice-based research project ‘Abney Rambles’ is comprised of four audio walks that she researched, wrote, and recorded from 2014 to 2017 within the space of Abney Park cemetery. Her continued work with the Abney Park Trust aims to engage the local community of Stoke Newington, the wider community of London, and all visitors to the cemetery, with Abney Park’s heritage as well as offer diverse perspectives on what a cemetery can represent as a contemporary space within its local community. Reagan’s walk ‘Crossing Paths/Different Worlds in Abney Park Cemetery’ was published in Ways to Wander (Triarchy Press, 2015) Website: Twitter: @msromany @DoyennesDeath


Samantha Perrin bio:

Samantha Perrin has been a cemetery tour guide for 16 years and fell into it accidentally after applying to be a cemetery landscape volunteer. The cemetery was in dire need of guides at that time and so she was encouraged to help out in that way. She’s so glad she did! Taking tours reignited her passion for history, which she’d never previously thought to explore in a graveyard, while also showing what goldmines cemeteries are in the way of architecture, biodiversity, and life stories (drama, sorrow, action – cemeteries have the lot). Sam currently guides at Tower Hamlets, Hampstead, and Abney Park cemeteries while pursuing her Masters degree in Victorian Studies and working for a Homelessness Unit. Sam works on other cool cemetery and history-related projects with @CemeteryClub; @DoyennesDeath; and @Green_Pandora
020 7275 7557

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