Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead. Creative Section

‘And writing […] will preserve his memory’: Laman Blanchard’s Afterlife in Letters and Ledgers


  • Heather Scott University College London



death studies, cemeteries in London, monumental masonry, nineteenth-century English literature


This article examines the historical fragments of cemetery records and monumental masonry for the poet and journalist Laman Blanchard, who was interred in West Norwood Cemetery, London, in 1845, and whose monument was cleared a century later by Lambeth Council. It focuses on Blanchard’s role in the Dickens literary circle and his relation to mid-Victorian writers, situating his untimely death in light of changing legislation on suicide. His lost grave marker is recovered by scrutinising his burial record, obituary, epitaph, and periodicals to ferret out connections amongst the archival sources of his death. The nebulous association, between what is written-by a person in life and what is written-about that person after death, is contemplated throughout.

Author Biography

Heather Scott, University College London

Heather Scott studied English at the University of Regina and Victorian Literature at the University of Glasgow, where her dissertation considered the confluence of the Glasgow Necropolis and the poetry of Tennyson and Hardy. At University College London, her PhD thesis probed the rise of the Victorian garden cemetery in London, which was born as a solution to improve sanitation while providing ample burial space that would rectify insecure interment and create a venue for leisure in the metropolis. Her research interests centre on manuscripts, ephemera, monumental masonry, letters, and literature, and their broader implications in cemetery studies. E-mail:





Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead. Creative Section