Brian Parsons 2014

Independent researcher

Abandoning burial: explaining a regional shift towards cremation

Although cremation commenced in 1885, it would be eighty later before burial was replaced as the preferred mode of disposal of the dead in England & Wales. Whilst this reflected a national shift, research highlights the existence of a significant regional variation. Focusing on the south west London/north Surrey area and using funeral directors records as the source of data, it can be established that the preference for cremation was reached at least a decade earlier. This paper argues that the availability of cremation facilities, a reduction in funeral expenditure, promotion by funeral directors and increasing awareness of the superiority of arrangements contributed towards the rejection of burial in favour of the cleansing flame.


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