Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Second Body into her Coffin

It seems to have been very common for gravediggers and undertakers to smuggle stillborn children into coffins, without the knowledge of the deceased's family and friends - this saved paying burial fees. Here is an undertaker's account of the work:

I said I thought I was going to Ilford on the following Tuesday, and the child could be buried then. I went to the hotel by his directions on the Saturday evening, taking a shell with me, in which I placed the body of the child. It was a shell made of ordinary deal and painted, such as children of that age are usually buried in. I drove some nails into the coffin lid, and then removed it. I got a certificate of the death. I have no got it here. Perhaps it is at home, but I fancy it was torn up by my children, for it lay on the mantel-piece for some time. It is necessary to give the certificate of death to the clergyman who performs the burial service. The next day (Sunday) I put the deceased child in a coffin along with a woman named Aycock, who was buiried from Lant-street, Southwar, and the two were interred together at the Tower Hamlets Cemetery. The body of Aycock did not go from my house, but from that at which she died in Lant-street. I took the child's body to Aycock's house in the shell which shell I carried in a bag. The child was then taken out of the shell and laid in the coffin with the body of the woman. The friends of Mrs. Aycock did not know that I had put a second body into her coffin. I paid only oneset of fees at the Tower Hamlets Cemetery and only one burial service was performed.

The Times, 8 October 1859

1 comment:

  1. Feb 18, 2010 – ROME - Italian state TV has suspended a cooking show host who shocked the nation by saying cat stew is a Tuscan delicacy he has enjoyed.