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Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

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Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby GELGreenland » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:27 am

A newspaper report of a coroner's inquest in 1906 shows that my ancestor committed suicide and his death certificate confirms this. Please can anyone advise whether he would have been permitted a normal burial in 1906 and if so, where this might have occurred in the Walworth area in that year. He might have been cremated. How can I establish what became of his remains subsequent to his death?

Thank you for any help given.

GEL
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby phsvm » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:02 pm

This is only 'off the top of my head' so to speak but weren't cremations fairly uncommon in the early 1900s?

If it were me I'd find out where he was living at the time of death and then look for the church closest to that address. Assuming that church is still in existance I'd e-mail them - they're almost certain to have a website with contact details - and ask if they could help with what the situation in 1906 regarding suicides within their area. They may not be able to help but whenever I've done anything like that I've always found they willing to help if they can.
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby junkers » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:11 pm

The short answer is that they could be buried in the churchyard under a Canon Law of 1882, but it appears this was not always carried out, sometimes on the outskirts or in a particular area of the churchyard. The information from the Church of England Synod might help:-

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2 ... b%2038.pdf
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby peter kent » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:26 am

Burial in a municipal or private cemetery was pretty much the norm in that period in an inner city area.

Try the Bereavement Services of Southwark Council. Contact details are on the council website.
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:44 am

peter kent wrote:Burial in a municipal or private cemetery was pretty much the norm...


Indeed - and since often only part the cemetery is consecrated (by the Church of England), then Canon Law of the CofE would not apply to the other part. So even if the CofE frowned on burial of a suicide in (their) consecrated ground, then they would have no say over what happened in the other part.

As has been said elsewhere though - clergy could be more compassionate about these matters than they were theoretically supposed to be, even before the 1882 Act.
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby GELGreenland » Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:12 pm

Thank you all for your responses.

I note that the Church of England Synod voted recently to sweep aside a law of several centuries preventing suicides from being buried in consecrated ground although it is acknowledged that many clergy ignored this rule. Good for them!

I believe the way forward may be to write to the nearest church to the home address of this man and hope to be guided in my research by them and also to contact Southwark Bereavement Services but my concern is that this death occurred over 100 years ago and they may not be interested! It is worth "a go" though.

A coroner's report does not exist for this suicide although one was held and reported in the local paper. It was very informative but of course final place of rest was not reported.

Thank you again everyone!
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby peter kent » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:10 pm

I believe the way forward may be to write to the nearest church to the home address of this man and hope to be guided in my research by them and also to contact Southwark Bereavement Services but my concern is that this death occurred over 100 years ago and they may not be interested!


The church is unlikely to be any help. For a start parish records are most likely to have been deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives which would be the place to go to search burial records (check what's online at Ancestry first). Secondly few if any burials took place in churchyards in inner London in 1906. See the 1852 Burial Act. Municipal and private cemeteries are the ones to check. Southward Bereavement Services are either the custodians of the burial registers of their municipal cemeteries or they will know who is. Why would they not help? If you want them to search registers, expect to pay a fee.
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby GELGreenland » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:37 pm

Hi Peter,
I see that Southwark Bereavement Service has records from about 1846 so I may be lucky. It looks too as though I have to resort to snail mail as their office at Camberwell New Cemetery appears not to have an email address. Ancestry does not have the appropriate burial records and it will be a while before I can travel to LMA so I think a letter to Southwark Bereavement Service is the way to go. I agree about the nearest church not responding. I rather suspect they are inundated with queries of births, marriages and deaths and indeed, their burial grounds were not being used at this time.

It is pen to paper then and I expect to be charged!
Glynis
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby peter kent » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:42 am

a letter to Southwark Bereavement Service is the way to go


or phone 020 7525 5600

I agree about the nearest church not responding


I didn't say they wouldn't respond, just that they wouldn't be able to help.
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Re: Death by Suicide-Walworth, London-1906

Postby GELGreenland » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:31 am

Peter,
Thank you for your help with regard to this query. I have now written to Southwark Bereavement Service by snail mail and enquired about the final resting place of this man and his wife who died 36 years later. I am sure that there will be a charge but sometimes this is less than the cost of petrol or a train journey when one lives some distance from London! Thank you too for the telephone number of the Service. I included my email address for the SBS and I hope to hear from them soon. I am happy to travel to London but must have all the information I need to hand so that my time there will be used efficiently.
Thanks again.
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