Then and Now

William Rock

William Frederick Rock was a British publisher and philanthropist.  Having worked with the printer and inventor Thomas de la Rue he started his own printing business with help from his brothers.  They specialised in publishing topographical steel-engraved prints, one of which was the 1864 etching (No 5067) of Teignmouth Cemetery.

Thanks to local historian Viv Wilson MBE, who has kindly given us access to an old photograph from her archive, and Geoff Wood, an FOTC volunteer who has taken an equivalent up-to-date picture we now have a unique comparison of almost the same cemetery scene over 150 years.

The three pictures are shown below as thumbprints.  Click on any picture to get a larger view.  It’s fantastic to see both chapels in a photograph, looking so similar to the original etching.  All the more sad that the second of those chapels is now just a ruin.

Below the individual pictures are some close-up comparisons of all three pictures together.

Current View

Date unknown – from Viv Wilson MBE archive

Teignmouth Cemetery 1864







The angles and distances are obviously slightly different but cropping what appears to be roughly the same area from each picture and scaling so that the main chapel is approximately the same size in each gives the following montage:

The “P” on the right-hand etching represents roughly where it would seem that the middle photograph was taken.  Note the path on the etching which still appears to be a stone path in the photograph.  That is now long gone.  The key marker for the modern photograph is the central grave in the middle photograph which is surrounded by low iron fencing, now untidy and slightly overgrown.

There is one constant in all three pictures though – the white cross standing below the left-hand window of the main chapel:

150 years …. a long time in the life of the cemetery.