HC Deb 13 May 1830 vol 24 cc680-2
Mr. Spottiswoode

said, that he had to present a Petition respecting the present mode of Interment in the Metropolis. It was from George Frederick Carden, Bar- rister-at-law, of the hon. Society of the Inner Temple. The petitioner stated the number of interments annually in the metropolis to be not less than 40,000, and described the places of sepulture as offensive to public decency and dangerous to the health of the people. Any hon. Member who had visited the burial grounds of the metropolis would agree in the correctness of this description. The petitioner went on to state many other things respecting the system of interments now practised in the metropolis, which were deserving of attention, but with which he would not trouble the House, as he intended to move that the Petition be printed. He would however add, that since the Petition had been put into his hands, other cases had been mentioned to him. The burial grounds of a chapel in Fetter Lane, of St. Mary Abchurch, and of St. Giles's church, were all offensive and dangerous nuisances. With respect to the latter, he found that an able and intelligent officer of the House, Mr. Luke Hansard had, in his evidence before the Select Vestries Committee, described the St. Giles's church-yard to have been a nuisance from time immemorial, and shown that Pennant spoke of it as such. The petitioner prayed that a committee should be appointed to inquire into the evils of the present system of interment within the metropolis, and to take into consideration the plan proposed by the petitioner, of establishing a general cemetry without the metropolis. For his own part, he was convinced of the necessity of some alteration, but he thought committees of that House were more remarkable for blaming abuses than for remedying them. He should content himself for the present with moving that the Petition be printed, in order that all Gentlemen might read it, and he should consider what would be the best mode of proceeding.

Lord Lowther

agreed with the petitioner as to the impropriety of the present system. In St. Martin's church-yard, the only place over which he had any control, he had had catacombs dug under ground, and he hoped to see the example followed in other places.

Mr. Protheroe

said, it would have been better if the noble Lord had removed the burial-place out of the metropolis altogether.

Lord Lowther

admitted that the suggestion of the hon. Member would have been a greater improvement, but he had not power to make it.

Mr. Hume

said, that there ought to be an Act prohibiting all burials in the metropolis for the future. Decency and the health of the inhabitants called for such a measure.

The Petition to be printed.