Our Volunteers and the Stories they write.
The volunteer researchers who research, write and review the stories that you can see in our STORIES section of the web site have an age range from the 20s to the 80s. Their level of research skills, writing skills and technical skills range from beginner to advanced and their level of education from GCSE to master’s degrees. They work remotely from each other. Most live around the Epsom area but others are dotted around the UK and even overseas. Most have never met more than one or two of their colleagues on this project. However, we all work collaboratively, learning from each other and developing our knowledge and skills to make sure that the lives of the people who are buried in the cemetery and their families are represented as well as we are able. We are a team, supporting each other in our work and respecting each other’s research and writing.
Our volunteers all have two very important things in common. They answered a call for help to save a cemetery from being developed AND they are committed to giving their energy, their passion, their precious time and even money to research and write the stories that you see here on our website. They are doing this voluntarily to help protect Horton Cemetery from development in perpetuity. We have no full-time professional researchers; quite the opposite we are all amateurs.
Our stories are written from the heart with each researcher being encouraged to use their own writing style. They are displaying great courage putting the results of their research, written in their own words, “out there” for all the world to see. Many members of our team have never done anything like this before. They are bringing the long forgotten and abandoned people in this cemetery, and the times that they lived in, “back to life”. In so doing they let these long-buried people speak, something that, as most of their stories will show you, they will have had little if any chance of doing while they were alive. Listen to what they tell you and learn of their poverty, anguish, courage, their love for their families, the certain loneliness of the abandoned, their desperation, their unremitting suffering and, at their life’s end, see them buried and lost in an unmarked grave in Epsom.
Up until recently we have had next to no access to physical archives. This means that currently nearly all of the stories have been created using online resources such as commercial genealogy sites like Find My Past and Ancestry and other resources such as the UK General Register Office, Family Search, and Free Births, Marriages and Deaths. We have also made use of the invaluable British Newspaper Archive. As CoViD comes more under control and our physical national, county, and local archives become more accessible we will have access to more information, particularly from the London Metropolitan Archives and Surrey History Centre. This will enable us to enhance our stories and fill gaps. We know as researchers that rarely is there nothing more that can be discovered. As our stories are read by more and more people we hope to be contacted by relatives of these unfortunate and unintended Epsom residents. We may be able to add more information to the stories through communication with these relatives.