Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Burying the Dead

An undertaker gives evidence to a government select committee on the habits of the poor:

‘In many instances, people say “We cannot bury under a week;” that is from custom. Others have not the means of getting a black gown; and they cannot follow in a coloured one; that is their bit of pride; then it is put off, it may be two or three days on that account. They will not have their relatives buried by the parish; they would rather do anything than that, saying they wish them to be buried respectably; and then the end of it is that myself and other people like me often bury for nothing, not intending to do it. They cheat us; and if they would do away with their little pride, and let the parish do it, the bodies would be removed in a reasonable time, and such men as myself would not be imposed on as we frequently are.'

Select Committee, Effect of Interment of Bodies in Towns, 1842

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