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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Whitechapel Funeral Directors

It’s that time of year when everything gets a little bit creepy, Halloween is around the corner and soon ghosts and ghouls will be walking our virtual streets! So what is this fascination with dead bodies and spirits, well I suppose people like being scared! That coffin lid creaks open and a bony hand extends towards you! Eerie stuff!! One type of business that will never run out of clients though, are funeral directors, and you can travel to Whitechapel 1888 to see Edward’s and Son Undertakers, a 19th Century funeral specialist. You can pick your favourite tombstone in the window and sim owner Spooks Blackburn has some really stylish coffins inside, you can even get a wreath to show your respects!

In real life public graveyards didn’t open until 1827, in fact the first one was opened in Kensal Green in London. Before that church graveyards or private plots were used. Because of the number of people dying over the years some of the graves were 30 feet deep to accommodate new bodies. The public graveyards were called cemeteries and finally became the responsibility of the local authorities. Undertakers or Funeral Directors have been on the scene since 1688 and were generally linked to other businesses such as joinery companies. When someone died they were generally kept at home or in a hospital until the day of the funeral. All that changed in the late 1950’s when chapels of rest were introduced by more and more funeral firms. The small funeral directors began to disappear during the 1960s as the people that ran them reached retirement age and their families did not want to carry on the tradition. By the 1970’s larger companies such as the Co-op had taken over the small companies.

So Spook’s Funeral Directors in his Whitechapel 1988 sim would have been there to take care of all the burial arrangements and paperwork for the people in the local area at the time. Let’s hope Spooks has those coffins nailed down tightly as we approach Halloween!!

Janey Bracken


Hibiscus said...

Great story, Janey, I had no idea about any of this. All very interesting, thanks for letting us know.

Janey Bracken said...

Hi Hib,

Thanks, I had no idea about the history of burials either, it was interesting looking it up and it was thanks to Spook's great sim that I did!

Anonymous said...

Seeing it’s nearly Halloween, I will give you a creepy poem.

During the plague of London in 1603 huge pits were dug just outside the city in which to bury the dead.

The poet, George Withers was in London during the plague and has described the scene in the streets at the height of the epidemic.

“Here, one man stagger’d by, with visage pale;
There, lean’d another, grunting on a stall.
A third, halfe dead lay gasping for his grave;
A forth did out of window call and rave;
Yond come the Bearers sweating from the pit,
To fetch more bodies to replenish it. BJ

Janey Bracken said...

Hi Boye,

What a job that must have been to be a bearer!! I hope all those people were dead before they chucked them in!! Thanks for the poem!!

Janey :))