Brian Parsons 2009

University of Bath, UK

Burying Enza: The Spanish ‘Flu 1918-1819 and the disposal of the dead in London

The Spanish ‘Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed tens of million worldwide. In England it is estimated that around 228,000 died during the three ‘waves’ – June/July, October/November 1918 and in February the following year. While much research has been carried out into the onset and spread of the Pandemic, issues concerning disposal of the dead have received little attention. Drawing on range of archive materials, including newspaper reports, council minutes, Medical Officer of Health reports, cemetery registers and funeral directors’ records, this paper gives an insight into how the funeral industry and cemeteries dealt with an unprecedented number of funerals during the second and most virulent wave of the pandemic.


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