HC Deb 04 August 1890 vol 347 cc1732-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many coffins of deceased persons remain above ground in Brompton Cemetery, and is their number allowed to be increased every year; Is he aware that such coffins are sometimes found to have become so deteriorated by age as to allow the escape of noxious gases from their contents; and whether, in the interests of the public health of the Metropolis, he will consider the expediency of prohibiting any further interments in open catacombs, or of entirely closing the cemetery as a place of burial, or for any other purpose than an open space?


I am informed by the Inspector that there are 587 leaden coffins deposited above ground, and about 10 fresh ones are placed in the catacombs every year. It is the fact that the lead of some of these coffins occasionally gives way; but as the catacombs are daily visited, anything amiss is immediately discovered and dealt with. With regard to the cemetery generally, the Inspector is satisfied that the regulations now in force will prevent it from becoming dangerous to the public health; but with regard to coffins deposited in the catacombs, I am now in consultation with the Office of Works with a view of adopting more stringent regulations, which will remove all reasonable cause of apprehension.