If you have ever been to Mexico then you know that there is not a more British town than Real del Monte. This “pueblo mágico” in Pachuca, Hidalgo is famous for three things: having the first football team in Mexico, their pasty industry, and the English Cemetery.
The strong British cultural heritage in Real del Monte came to be after, in the 1800ths, the Mexican government commissioned mines in the area to British companies. In addition to importing their sports and gastronomy, the British workers built their own cemetery where they recreated their burial customs grounded in ancient Celtic traditions and Anglican religion and, in some cases, using Masonic elements. Thus the tombs reproduced the symbols and characteristics of British graveyards, with their cultural and artistic significance that are still evident today, despite the failure of British companies in the mid-nineteenth century.
With over 150 years of history the now World Heritage Site holds around 700 British graves and was even visited last year by the Prince of Wales during the Day of the Dead celebrations.
This year we were honoured with an invitation to the inauguration of “Panteones 2015” at Queen Elizabeth School in Mexico City. The school’s British heritage was represented, of course, by the reproduction of Real del Monte’s English Cemetery. Amongst the re-created graves were the clown Richard Bell, John Pratt, Elliot Hamilton and Damien Bechen.