Both Cremation and Burial give me the creeps – it’s the way we’ve got rid of the dead for many thousands of years. It’s the way we do things. But I don’t have to like it.
Something else that started with our search for knowledge in the Enlightenment, is body snatching. Bodies were used for dissection. All this was illegal but profitable because the new medical schools that came about were constantly running out of undecomposed bodies. Relatives were horrified at the desecration of their loved ones – which is quite understandable of course!
Body snatching became so prevalent that it was not unusual for relatives and friends of someone who had just died to watch over the body until burial, and then to keep watch over the grave after burial, to stop it being violated. Iron coffins, too, were used frequently, or the graves were protected by a framework of iron bars called mortsafes.
The Anatomy Act 1832 allowed unclaimed bodies and those donated by relatives to be used for the study of anatomy. Thus ended the body snatching trade. The use of bodies for scientific research in the UK is now administered by the Human Tissue Authority.
So the old Furlongs living in this house, have both donated their bodies to Liverpool University/Newcastle University – for science.
It seems much better value for a body than either cremation, or burial don’t you think?