Matthew Pridham 2015

Trustee, Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, UK

Temporary lodgings of the dead: patterns of catacomb usage at Brompton Cemetery

My previous work examined the usage patterns and social characteristics of those interred in the catacombs at Highgate Cemetery in London. It revealed a definite rise and fall of catacomb usage in the middle of the nineteenth century and how it was influenced by legislation. Most users of Highgate loculi were prosperous families from the local area, with a surprising number of deposits being moved to other locations. My recent work looks at Brompton Cemetery, the last of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden cemeteries. Brompton was built with thousands of loculi in catacombs, which were an important element of the cemetery design. Research conclusions are based on a transcription of the Burial Registers. Every catacomb deposit from the opening in 1841 to the end of the twentieth century has been documented in several ways. The analysis will compare the various usage elements between Brompton and Highgate. While the pattern of usage and the social characteristics of purchasers are similar, Brompton has a significantly larger group of removals than found at Highgate. It seems that for many families, a loculus was temporary lodging prior to a final resting place.


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