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Title: The rise of cemetery companies in Britain, 1820-53
Author: Rugg, Julie
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 1992
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Cemetery companies were the principal agency of the transition from a traditional reliance on graveyards to the use of modern extra-mural cemeteries. The thesis comprises a study of the 113 cemetery companies established from 1820 to 1853, a period which saw the origin of this type of enterprise and its spreading throughout Britain. The companies are not analysed as economic entities, but rather as representations of a range of attitudes towards the problems associated with intramural interment. To facilitate discerning different trends relating to the public perceptions of the burial problem, the companies have been classified according to type. This is an exercise which relies on textual analysis of company documents to understand the principal motivation of each group of directors. Three different types of company are examined in the thesis. Directors of enterprises within the first group to emerge saw the burial problem as a religious-political issue, and used cemetery companies as a means of providing extended space for burial which was independent of the Established Church. The new cemeteries had unconsecrated ground, and offered the freedom for Dissenters to adopt any burial service they wished. The increased enthusiasm for all joint-stock enterprise in the mid-1830s saw the advent of the speculative cemetery company, which saw in the burial issue the potential to make profits in one of three ways: by tapping a specific territorial market, a particular class market, or by buying and selling the scrip of grand and impractical necropolitan schemes. A third type of company dominated the 1840s, and its main concern was the provision of extra-mural cemeteries as a sanitary measure. In addition to studies of these three groups of companies, the thesis presents analysis of two additional themes essential to the progress of burial reform: fears concerning the integrity of the corpse; and the cultural significance thought to attach to cemetery foundation. The thesis demonstrates, by studying these companies, that the reasons for taking action to found cemetery companies could vary considerably, and that perception of the burial issue altered a number of times.
Supervisor: Bebbington, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Undertakers and undertaking Great Britain History ; Cemetaries Great Britain History 19th century