This Valentine’s Day we thought we’d celebrate a now world famous memorial to life and to love…
As you walk around London (or any big city), you’ll notice an ever growing abundance of padlocks with names scrawled on them in Sharpie (or sometimes even engraved) swinging from railings on bridges and chainlink fences. They are colourful and beautiful and touching, and a little bit tacky (but we can overlook that), and unless you have no eyes, you’ll have seen at least one nestled somewhere in The Big Smoke.
A colourful Lovelock against a grey day on the Millennium Bridge, Nov 2014
The history of Lovelocks is unclear, with different sources claiming different origins for these symbols for everlasting love and commitment. Did they originate in Serbia during WW1, bourne out of heartbreak and sadness, or in China, where lovers would throw away the key to celebrate a love that could never be undone?
They are sometimes loved and sometimes despised but they exist now on bridges and fences all over the world and despite the implications and the controversies involved, the innocence and purity of the message behind each one is clear. These padlock covered areas of our fair city aren’t really cemeteries because they aren’t dead spaces – if anything they are screaming with life and with love – but the messages left behind by the people who left them join together to make huge memorials to humanity – to hope and to devotion and to the connections forged between us as human beings.
A fence full of hearts and lovelocks next to Shoreditch High Street station in September 2012
This Valentine’s Day weekend, keep an eye out for Lovelocks in London and tweet us your favourites (@cemeteryclub)