The Victorian Undertaker
The Victorians were familiar with death and, while they did not welcome it, they felt relatively at ease with it. Sustained by their religious beliefs, they felt able to celebrate death and to accord full rites of passage to the deceased. Trevor May shows how undertakers catered for these complex and sober events, and the various funeral options they offered to mourners, and to those who carefully prepared for their own death. While one Victorian authoress was able to claim that 'It is on the deathbed that the rich and poor are equalised', the author assesses the extent to which funerals reflected the social divisions within nineteenth-century society. There is much in this book to interest social historians, those interested in historical costume, and transport enthusiasts, for there is a section on the development of the horse-drawn hearse.