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DeleyanLee
09-24-2008, 05:31 PM
I've been searching through my various resources and reference books and am trying to figure out something.

My MIP covers the Jack the Ripper murders (1888 London), so I'm trying to figure out what the process (and subsequent descriptions) of how the victims' remains were handled.

I know they went to a morgue, where they were autopsied. I know that for several days after the autopsy (until at least the first day of the coroner's inquest), the bodies were on display to the (paying) public before having a church burial.

Does this mean that the morgue prepared the bodies for burial (embalming, etc) or was the practice of taking them to a funeral home for that step just a given no one thought to note?

Any facts or spectulation would be much appreciated.

IceCreamEmpress
09-25-2008, 08:11 AM
Embalming was very very rare in the UK in the 19th century (I think only a quarter of corpses are embalmed there today). It's very unlikely that any of the Ripper's victims would have been embalmed--the routine funeral preparation for working-class people in London at the time was a simple laying-out.

MaryMumsy
09-25-2008, 08:52 AM
It has been a couple of years since I read it, but check out Patricia Cornwell's book on Jack the Ripper. IIRC she had access to documentation from Scotland Yard that hadn't been shared before.

MM

DeleyanLee
09-25-2008, 05:42 PM
Embalming was very very rare in the UK in the 19th century (I think only a quarter of corpses are embalmed there today). It's very unlikely that any of the Ripper's victims would have been embalmed--the routine funeral preparation for working-class people in London at the time was a simple laying-out.

Thanks. That's what I was thinking was reasonable, but wanted a second (third, fifteenth) opinion on.


It has been a couple of years since I read it, but check out Patricia Cornwell's book on Jack the Ripper. IIRC she had access to documentation from Scotland Yard that hadn't been shared before.

Yep, I've got her book in my collection and checked there since she had a lovely section on DNA and such things, but she had nothing to say about what happened to the victims other than they were buried on such-and-such a date. It's not an area that anyone, including Begg, Sugden, Evans has covered--not that I blame them. It's not a very exciting topic compared to the Ripper investigation, but it's a detail I'd like to get right in the book.

Thanks again!

Lyra
09-25-2008, 06:37 PM
Assume you've been to http://www.casebook.org/ ?

Most things that aren't in the articles can be discovered in the forums.

A search on http://www.victorianlondon.org/ will also throw up relevant information such as http://www.victorianlondon.org/death/awaiting.htm

Theer was no need for funeral homes. If the body wasn't kept at home, it would be in the morgue.

DeleyanLee
09-25-2008, 07:08 PM
Assume you've been to http://www.casebook.org/ ?

I'm a supporting member of that site. I adore it. It's beyond marvy.


A search on http://www.victorianlondon.org/ will also throw up relevant information such as http://www.victorianlondon.org/death/awaiting.htm

Theer was no need for funeral homes. If the body wasn't kept at home, it would be in the morgue.

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out when I'm not at work (blasted filters). I've found proof that there WERE funeral homes in 1888 in London (and the US), which is what raised the question. With the fear of disease and epidemics so common in the era, the practice of having the viewing at home was seriously starting to fade out at that time. Gotta love times of transition, y'know?

Priene
09-25-2008, 09:04 PM
The expansion of population meant there was a major crisis in graveyard space in Victorian London. Many burials took place in cemetaries such as Brookwood (http://www.woking.gov.uk/planning/policy/localplan/brookwood), conveniently on a railway line but well outside the city itself.