HC Deb 18 July 1889 vol 338 cc709-10
MR. MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the following facts: Mrs. Toop, an inmate of the White chapel Infirmary, died there on Tuesday last, and her friends forthwith made arrangements for the funeral; but when the undertaker called at the infirmary, a body, which was not that of Mrs. Toop, was offered to him; and the friends of the latter, in spite of repeated applications, have not been able to obtain delivery of her body, which, it is understood, has been buried by mistake; and, whether he will point out to the Guardians of the White chapel Union that it is their duty to recover the body of Mrs. Toop, and hand it over to her friends?


I have made inquiry as to the case of Mrs. Toop. It appears that the deceased died in the infirmary of the White chapel Union on the 9th instant, and the body was the same day removed to the mortuary and placed in a coffin for interment in ordinary course. On the 10th instant, the relatives of the deceased notified their desire to inter the body at their own expense, and it was intended that the body should be retained in the mortuary for removal by them. There were four bodies awaiting removal in the mortuary, and of these, three were for removal by the contractor to the guardians. In the removal of the three bodies on the 11th instant, the officer in charge made the unfortunate mistake of causing the removal of the body of Mrs. Toop, in place of that of one Emily Preston, No notification was received by the in- firmary authorities of the mistake, and it was not discovered until the friends applied for the body. The guardians deeply regret the occurrence, and steps are being taken by them with the view of the exhumation of the body for re-interment.

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

Is it not the fact that the authorities of the Ilford Cemetery received an order to inter the body of Annie Preston, and under that order buried a coffin with a plate having a totally different name upon it—namely, Emma Toop?


I believe that was so, but steps have been taken to remedy the mistake, as far as possible.


Will the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary cause inquiries to be made as to the negligence, or apparent negligence, of the authorities at the Ilford Cemetery?


My attention has not been called to the matter, which is within the Department of the Local Government Board.


I presume that the regulations under the Burials Act come under the authority of the right hon. Gentleman.


If I have any authority in the matter I will cause inquiry to be made.

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