Necropolis – London and its dead – Catharina Arnold

Hi guys!

I’m sorry I’ve been absent, but it has been work and school and life, haha. If you follow me on Instagram I’ve been posting there because I’ve had some # challenges to complete. Happy Easter to you all, I hope it been a good one!

London is an old city and it contains several cemeteries, mass graves and unknown graves. With its long history, it also has a long history of souls passed away a long time ago. Cemeteries like Kensal Green and Highgate hides many secrets and has been vital throughout the burial history of London. London has suffered several plagues and wars and then what to do with the dead that just kept on coming? Funeral fashion has changed with time and it is something completely different today than what it was during Queen Victoria 1 time. This is a book that uncovers the unknown history of London, its dead and everything that comes with it, even sides you did not expect. 

This is a book for everyone, whether you are interested in the dead, London, secrets or not, although I would recommend a slight interest in the more macabre. I picked it up randomly in the bookshop at my uni campus, and have been curious to read it for a while. It is very interesting to uncover the many well-hidden secrets in London when it comes to the dead. There is known historical places and it is fun to read when you are able to visualize where in London one spot is. I live in London as some of you guys know, but there were several places I didn’t know existed and people I didn’t know were buried in London. After reading the book I’m going to bring my bookish upstairs neighbour, Alrightexpectations, to Kensal Green and Highgate to look around and see if I can relate the book to the real world. I know some of Highgate is closed off due to personal danger, but I’ll see what I can get. I find cemeteries to be interesting in general, especially in other countries. There are different customs, design to the tombstones, how they are placed, etc etc.

The book talks about different religious traditions within London and how they formed their own cemeteries for their dead so that they could be within their own branch of religion. Several of the book’s chapters are devoted to the Victorian age due to the elaborate customs surrounding the dead at this time of history. It also talks about graverobbers and how they used to snatch bodies from their graves, especially for science use within medicine and anatomy. Common practice was to only use the bodies of criminals for such practice, but as the demand for bodies grew the criminals made it their business to bring bodies to the labs. Many a graverobber ended up in the science lab themselves.

I enjoyed the fact that this book was so easy to read. The sentences are simple, maybe except for some of the direct quotes from authors passed away long ago, and it gives you a nice flow when you read. It has received great critics for its historical information and I think you will like it even better if you like things more on the macabre side. Another thing I find that I liked is the fact that it doesn’t go into too much detail, it is briefer, but if you would like to find of more there is a list of notes at the back of the book.

Published: 2007

Genre: Historical novel

Theme: London, death, disease, history

– The Book Reader

Bilderesultat for necropolis london and its dead by catharine arnold

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