The London Way of Death
by Brian Parsons
Published by Sutton Publishing, 2001
Price £10.99 (paperback)
This book surveys how London’s dead have reached their final resting place. It is the first book to focus on this, and to brilliantly illustrate it by an astonishing selection of contemporary photographs. The introductory chapter sets the scene, whilst other sections cover royal funerals, the place of burial and cremation, funerals in London, the funeral industry, funeral vehicles, and the Frederick W. Paine story.
Commendably, Brian Parsons gives much space to the unusual and ordinary in this pictorial survey. Under royal funerals, you can see pictures relating to the funeral of the Duke of Cambridge (died 1904) alongside the more familiar ones of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George VI. Elsewhere may be found illustrations dealing with the obsequies of Arthur Sullivan, Baroness Burdett-
All forms of funerary transport are covered, including horse-
The sections on the funeral industry and Frederick Paine’s add further depth and interest to what is a thoroughly absorbing book. These pictures show fascinating insights into the trade: for instance the massive wood stakes of Paine’s business which emphasise just how many funerals the company was dealing with in the 1930s.
Brian Parsons has succeeded in creating a superb pictorial survey of London undertaking during the last 100 years through some 200 illustrations. The publishers have sensibly chosen to print the entire book on art paper, giving the best possible reproduction for the pictures. Together, they make the book a bargain.
Copyright © 2001 by John M. Clarke. All Rights Reserved