The most maudlin of Victorian graves in Chester’s Overleigh cemetery is unquestionably the Chewing Gum Girl.
Having previously discussed the grave on this blog, I took MA students to visit the Girl as part of a tour of Chester and a promenade around Overleigh cemetery. Next, I thought it might make for an interesting destination for my kids. Both in isolation, and as part of a broader exploration of the cemetery’s many memorials, en route to a playground in Edgar’s Field, I wondered what they’d make of it. What discussions of mortality might this dreary grave and its dismal folklore might evoke?
What they made of it? That’s our business. However, what I will say is that I didn’t indulge them with the chewing gum fable, only with what is known about this little child and the real causes of her death.
What I would say is how the Chewing Gum Girl, four years after I last blogged about her, has a new solar light, a bear in a bag, and an owl on her shoulder. Her story, and her materiality, continue to provoke present-day reflection and contemplation on death.