How many people use cremation today in Great Britain?
Since 1968 when the number of cremations exceeded burials for the
first time, cremation has increased considerably. Current figures
suggest that around 70% of all funerals are cremations.
All current Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic
Church, allow cremation, as do Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.
It is however forbidden by Orthodox Jews and Muslims.
No. Generally the cost of a grave is much higher than the fee charged
for cremation although the funeral charges are similar for both services.
The only additional charge for cremation arises when the death has
not been referred to a coroner and two doctors need to be paid for
the necessary certificates. This does not apply to burial.
The service for burial and cremation is the same apart from the
form of committal sentences. The service may take place at your own
place of worship with a short committal service in the crematorium
chapel, or you may have the whole service at the crematorium chapel.
Alternatively, you may prefer a civil ceremony be conducted, or even
no service at all.
The Cremation Regulations are complex and many people approach a
funeral director immediately death occurs, and advise him that they
wish to arrange a cremation. The funeral director will ensure that
all the necessary statutory forms for cremation are obtained and
presented to the Crematorium.
Yes. The Executor or nearest surviving relative may arrange the
cremation service themselves. See our information on organising a
Yes. There is a viewing room that overlooks our crematory, where
you may witness the committal taking place. This room is equipped
with CCTV enabling all of those in the room to clearly see the committal.
The Crematorium must be informed that you wish to use our viewing
facilities when the cremation is booked, so that we may ensure that
the viewing facility is available on the day.
Yes. The IBCA Guiding Principles state that the container and the
body shall be placed in cremator and cremation commenced. The coffin
or container with the body inside shall not be opened or otherwise
disturbed, other than in exceptional circumstances, and then only
with the express permission and in the presence of the Applicant
for Cremation (usually the executor or next of kin).
The IBCA Guiding Principles state that the container and the body shall be placed in a cremator and cremation commenced no later than 24 hours after the service of committal. Where cremation may not be carried out on the same day, the Applicant for Cremation shall be notified.
This means that under normal circumstances the cremation is usually
carried out shortly after the service and certainly on the same day.
However, when a service takes place late in the day, the cremation
can take place the next morning.
A cremator can only accept one coffin at a time and all the remains
are removed from the cremator before the next cremation. An identity
card is used throughout the whole process until the final disposal,
thereby ensuring correct identification.
Full information is available within these web pages - see Your
No, each cremation is carried out separately. However, exceptions
can be made in the case of a mother and baby or small twin children,
so long as the next of kin or executor has made this specific request.
No. The coffin and the body inside are cremated together. There
are occasions where the deceased or the family of the deceased have
opted for using a cardboard coffin in which their loved one will
be cremated. When this happens families often want to have a more
aesthetically pleasing coffin or container on the catafalque during
the service. Families therefore will opt for either a pall (a cloth
covering the cardboard coffin), or a 'cocoon coffin' (an outer shell
that covers the cardboard coffin). Neither the pall nor the cocoon
is cremated. It is important to understand that the pall and cocoon
do NOT contain the body of the deceased, they are simply superficial
coverings for a cardboard coffin.
Graves have to be dug to a sufficient depth to allow for future
burials to take place. Therefore the grave needs to be deep enough
to allow not only for the depth of coffins/caskets that will be buried
but also to accommodate legal requirements of undisturbed earth to
be between each coffin and the amount of earth that must cover the
We have introduced a wide range of graves to give people as many
options as possible when arranging the burial of a loved one. For
many the lawn grave is considered to be the best option, but for
others burial above ground in our Catacombs is the best option. It
is really a matter of choice.
The lawn grave was designed on the war grave principle (to have
only a memorial of limited size at the head of the grave with the
rest of the grave laid to lawn). In this manner the limited area
available for burial is best utilised. In addition maintenance is
easier to accomplish with large mowing machinery being used to keep
the area in a neat condition. These graves are sold on the understanding
that only lawn style memorials are erected. Full memorials are only
permitted on Traditional graves, which are also available at the
City of London Cemetery.
Graves are prepared for burial at least one full day before the
funeral and are covered overnight. The IBCA Guiding Principles for
Burial Services states that immediately after the mourners have departed
the graveside, the grave shall be entirely backfilled and made tidy.
This work is completed on the day of the burial and coffins are not
left uncovered overnight.
Some cultures require that the grave is filled in while the family
watch or they may wish to undertake the backfilling of the grave
themselves. When families want this it is essential that the cemetery
is made aware of their requirements when the burial is first arranged.
This will ensure that the family's wishes are met.
Yes, but we need to be advised of this before the funeral takes
place so that we are prepared.
With lawn graves, 'almost' immediately. You've probably heard rumours
that the grave needs to sink for a year, and so you must wait for
that time before putting up a memorial. This is not strictly true
with regard to lawn graves. With lawn graves the unit into which
the headstone will be fixed is in position at the head of the grave
before the funeral takes place. The grave itself will continue to
settle for many months but the concrete unit at the head of the grave
will not sink and is a firm foundation for the memorial to be fixed
The law stipulates that graves cannot be sold for more than 100
years and we cannot go against that law. However, the law does permit
grant of ownership to be extended and we accordingly write to owners
every five years offering the opportunity to 'top-up' their lease.
In this manner, the grave can stay in the family for as long as they
wish, though ownership will never be issued for more than 100 years
at any one time.
No. Graves cannot be opened without the permission in writing of
the registered owner of the grave. The only exception to this is
where the burial is to be that of the registered owner in which case
no written authority is required.
When a grave is purchased to take two full body burials, the depth
to which the grave is excavated for the first burial must take into
account the need for the second burial. There are legal requirements
as to how much earth must be left on top of the last coffin, and
it is therefore not physically possible to put an extra coffin into
the grave without breaking the law.
When you buy a grave you purchase the exclusive Rights of Burial
in that grave for a set period of time. Should you not renew your
lease options, then the exclusive rights of burial will eventually
run out. Every 5 years during the duration of the lease the registered
owner will be written to and offered the option to extend the length
Ownership of the exclusive Right of Burial in a grave can be transferred
from a deceased owner via that owner's estate. The means of transfer
can be very complex and while there is a set procedure to follow,
each case must be looked at individually. If you need to transfer
ownership when all owners are deceased you will need to contact us.
When a new grave is purchased it is not the ownership of the land
itself that is purchased, but the rights to have burials take place
in that grave. These rights are sold, or to be more correct, 'granted'
together with the rights to erect a memorial on the grave in accordance
with the rules and regulations of the City of London Cemetery. There
are many different types of grave within the City of London and each
permits a different type of memorial to be erected upon the grave.
Prior to a memorial being erected on a grave space, the written
authority of the owner of the grave must be given on the permit form,
authorising the proposed erection. Memorials need to conform to cemetery
regulations with regard to size and fixings, and the memorial also
needs to be checked for stability under health and safety regulations.
It is against the law to disturb human remains without licence (inculding
cremated remains in a casket or urn), and therefore no further burials
will be possible in the grave until a licence has been obtained.
Cremated remains can be buried in the grave at full depth, in which
case they will not be disturbed by further full body burials, but
by having to excavate a grave to this depth there will be additional
charges for opening the grave.
No, we are not permitted to recommend anyone. Click here for more information about headstones. Do NOT entertain any Monumental Mason who approaches you in the cemetery or who calls to your home.