This site was originally created for my hopeless paintings but it's grown over the years. Painting is just a hobby (I know I can't paint), the pleasure is in the process and once a canvas is finished it end ups in the attic. I started putting paintings on here for my own pleasure and to teach myself how to run a website. I can remember when I started and there were less than ten paintings to click on. One day I read a book about soldiers awarded Victoria Cross medals, found some of their graves and took a few photographs. I created the "Death" section showing these but the website didn't reap many more views.
I plodded on. For about a decade the website received few visitors. Over the years I added lots more paintings and grave photos and the number of annual viewers increased. Nowadays the website gets 2 to 3 million views per year and I can only assume the increasing content is being caught up in search engines. The "Death" section is the most viewed and brings in most emails. The most common topic is the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.
Some content has been removed at the request of families left behind. I'm not doing this to cause discord and I've removed stuff immediately when asked. My instincts have told me to refrain from putting certain photos on here and I've followed them. Perhaps when the time is right I'll put them on.
Website developers ask me if I'd like to pay for them to "clear up" the website - make it varnished and professional. Thanks but no thanks. Its home-made amateurish nature seems to be part of the appeal. I know it has some bumps and holes but I'm not bothered. I'm not trying to make money from it, court popularity or sell stuff. Sometimes people suggest I sell advertising on it but I'm not interested.
How did this website get so big and why do I visit graves? Firstly lots of people I grew up with on television seems to be dying off and I suppose finding their graves was a way of clinging onto childhood. I mean people like Les Dawson, Fred Dibnah and Larry Grayson. Secondly life is short and visiting graveyards reminds me to crack on with life and enjoy it. Also I'm interested in history, am pretty curious and find graveyards relaxing places. If you're ever feeling down walk through the children's section of a cemetery and you'll realise how blessed you are.
I've found everyone's preferences differ. Some people I meet like the paintings and aren't interested in anything else. For others the paintings mean nil and they're interested in the blue plaques I've visited or stuff related to The Beatles or the Busby Babes.
Sometimes someone will drop me a line to say I shouldn't be visiting sacred burial places but most say they love browsing the website at random and encourage me to "keep on doing it."
I've thousands more graves and noteworthy places to visit and they're all programmed into my Google Maps but I won't live long enough to visit them.
I do a regular newsletters so if you'd like to be added onto the list please just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for viewing the website and sorry if it breaks down sometimes. It seems to take a day or two to update itself for some reason.