Kevin Toolis

Death was everywhere for the Victorians, but it was never commonplace

In a society obsessed with the trappings of grief, funerals were often elaborate occasions, with commemorative medals struck and strict rules applied to the period of mourning

Funeral procession of James Braidwood in Abney Park Cemetery, Hackney. Braidwood, distinguished for his heroism, was chief of the London Fire Brigade and died fighting the Tooley Street fire at Cotton’s Wharf near London Bridge on 22 June 1861. [Getty Images]

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe today to get 3 months' delivery of the magazine, as well as online and app access, for only £3.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


A blooming good offer

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting the next 3 months for £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in