This list includes abstracts from the Colloquium since 2005. Papers from the Virtual Colloquium held in November 2023 are marked [v].

Brian Parsons 2008

Independent researcher

Battle ground for burials: Kingsbury Lawn Cemetery

Despite the increasing profile of cremation in England during the interwar years, local authorities still needed to provide land for the preferred mode of disposal – burial. Those in urban areas with nineteenth century cemeteries approaching capacity looked outside their boundaries for suitable sites. In 1929 the Urban District Council of Willesden acquired land for burial purposes in an adjacent municipal area. Although it was not immediately prepared for burials, over the next thirty years the authority encountered an unprecedented level of opposition from Wembley borough. […]

Mark Powell 2008

University of Sheffield, UK

Keeping the contradictions: researching death, dying and care of the deceased

The paper is concerned with the analysis of interview transcripts and aims to provide insights into personal perceptions of death, dying, and care of the deceased. The interview data draws on initial research undertaken as part of a three-year ESRC funded project considering the cultural, social and emotional implications of funerary practices, grouped under the generic term of ‘natural burial’. The project will consider how varied interpretations, typologies and memorial practices have created diverse burial landscapes. […]

Peter C. Jupp 2008

University of Durham, UK

The Council for the Disposition of the Dead, 1931-1939: a cul-de-sac for funeral reform

By 1930 the campaign for cremation was fifty-six years old. Yet the persistence of the British burial tradition had confounded most attempts by cremation’s promoters to persuade the British to adopt cremation as an alternative to burial. In 1930 over 99% of funerals involved burial. The Council for the Disposition of the Dead (CDD) was a new initiative of the Cremation Society, intended to promote cremation as one of several funeral reforms. These reforms would be pursued in cooperation with a wide range of other organisations both within funeral service and beyond, […]

Ruth McManus 2008

University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Grief in the garden: the cultural production of suburbia

What happens to the geraniums when an avid gardener dies? In this paper I suggest that it is possible to map ways in which domestic places and spaces get enacted in and negotiated through engagements with death. Drawing upon ongoing research into New Zealand’s and UK’s attitudes to and practices around death, the paper discusses ways in which domestic suburban gardens operate as, and become sites to, renegotiate social relationships transformed through death.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract