In a previous post I’ve observed the material culture of funeral parking, revealed via bespoke black-and-white cross-marked cones stored in church porches and lychgates ready to be deployed to allow parking for mourners and the hearse. I first noticed this in Lancashire.
Subsequently I’ve also noticed how some churches create makeshift versions: simply re-painting orange-and-white cones by hand and adding hand-drawn crosses to the same effect. This was in Flintshire.
In both posts I contextualised this seemingly bizarre topic to post about in relation to the broader material cultures, road-planning and architectures of churchyards, cemeteries and crematoria, which are geared around motor transport for the living and the dead.
Over the last year, I’ve been keeping a look out for more instances of this phenomena, and found that many churchyards and cemeteries retain orange-and-white cones for use for other events, perhaps not Sunday services, but maybe weddings and christenings as well as funerals. Indeed, cones are such a ubiquitous feature, stacked and tucked inside gates and porches, I wonder how many I’ve walked by without even thinking of their humble contribution to the material culture of the contemporary churchyard. Above are a pair stacked inside a Cheshire church. Below are a larger number just inside the churchyard gate of another Cheshire church, ready for deployment along the road.
I’m not sure how legitimate the ones marked ‘Police’ are for use by authorities and institutions are that demonstrably not the ‘Police’….
And this is where I’m led into new territory. For cemeteries too often have these, and I think here they take on additional functions. Here, for example, tucked behind the hedges of a children’s burial ground at a Welsh cemetery, these cones must surely be less to do with parking, but instead marking out areas for groundworks, including the erection of new gravestones and the relaying of paths and other cemetery features. And so the versatility of funerary cones ever expands…