MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Member for North-East Manchester, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a plate in an illustrated newspaper of the 4th instant, accompanying a letter from two persons who state that they enclose a photograph of "the more interesting specimens" of human remains lately found in Whitechapel, of which they have made a collection, the plate consisting of a pile of 57 human skulls, supposed to be those of victims of the Great Plague of 1665, and of themselves in conjunction therewith; whether there is any Local Authority whose duty it is to see such remains, which presumably have received 924 Christian burial, re-interred; and whether, in that case, he will take steps to require the fulfilment of that duty?
§ MR. ASQUITH
My attention has been called to this matter. It seems probable that at the time of the Great Plague many bodies were interred in places other than burial grounds, and without Christian burial, and there is no trace of the existence of a burial ground at the place in question. I doubt whether any Local Authority has any responsibility in the matter; but I presume that those who have undertaken the excavation ought to see that the bones are decently re-interred, and I have so informed the Medical Officer of Health.