Funerals, Cemeteries and Burial Grounds | A Day of Talks

Talk Heritage
  • Venue


  • Time

    10:30 AM

  • Price

    £15.00 plus booking fee

  • Book Tickets

Southwark Cathedral are delighted to host a day of talks exploring burial grounds, cemeteries and funerals.

Cemeteries and burials grounds are curious spaces with lots of stories to tell whether that's looking at who was buried there, how they were buried and how those spaces came about. These talks are a gentle step into the history and heritage of burial spaces as well as 18th century funerals which was a period of innovation and spectacle.

Our speakers include the following with others to be added;


Brian Parsons: A look at London’s Cemeteries

There are over 150 cemeteries in the London area. Opening from the 1830s, most are owned by local authorities, but a handful are within the remit of private companies and also religious organisations. They are all different in terms of size, landscape and the memorials they contain. This illustrated presentation will give an insight into their heritage and diversity.

Brian Parsons is the co-author (with Hugh Meller) of the sixth edition of London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer. He is also the author of Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in Nineteenth Century England and The Undertaker at Work: 1900-1950.


Jean Sprackland: These Silent Mansions - A Life in Graveyards

Graveyards are oases: places of escape, peace and reflection. Liminal sites of commemoration, where the past is close enough to touch. Yet they also reflect their living community - how in our restless, accelerated modern world, we are losing our sense of connection to the dead.

Jean Sprackland - the prize-winning poet and author of Strands - travels back through her life, revisiting her once local graveyards. In seeking out the stories of those who lived and died there, remembered and forgotten, she unearths what has been lost.


Dan O'Brien: Funerals on the Streets of Eighteenth Century London

Funerals were a common presence on the streets on eighteenth century London as mourners mingled daily routines of urban life and processions passed through busy thoroughfares. This presentation examines the ordinary and extraordinary elements of funerals in a period of funerary innovation and spectacle.

Dr Dan O’Brien is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath. His research focuses on the early undertaking trade and funerary products in eighteenth century England.


This event will take place in the Cathedral library and wont be streamed or recorded.

Doors open at 10.15am.