12 July 2017

Summer Walk: Pauper death and burial in Victorian Eastville

Join Dr Roger Ball of the Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group to learn more about funeral ceremonies during the Victorian period.

Elaborate funeral ceremonies became very important to middle-class Victorians, with increasingly meticulous rituals designed to mark the passing of family members. However, for the Victorian poor, things were very different.

After the introduction of the 1834 Poor Law Act the customary pauper funeral, subsidised by the parish, came under government scrutiny as a financial and symbolic ‘extravagance’.

Instead the need for Poor Law Unions to both save money and demonstrate disgrace in death of those who had ‘surrendered to poverty’ became paramount. This new approach was reflected in the death and burial practices within the workhouse system.

Building on continuing research into Eastville Workhouse at 100 Fishponds Rd, the unmarked pauper graves at Rosemary Green and nearby Greenbank Cemetery; this walk contrasts in death, the treatment of the Victorian rich and poor.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. Donations welcome.

Meet at East Trees Health Centre, 100a Fishponds Rd, Bristol BS5 6SD. This walk includes going down some grassy slopes, so please bring appropriate footwear.

Suitable clothing

Although the routes are not strenuous, please be aware that surfaces may be uneven and could be slippery when wet. We strongly recommend that you dress appropriately for the weather with warm/waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear.

For your safety

Please take care when crossing busy roads and always use the designated crossings where indicated. Please be aware of other road users and pedestrians, particularly by leaving space on pavements for people to cross safely.

All Summer Walks take place on the second Wednesday of the month between June and September and last approximately one and a half hours. The Summer Walks are sponsored by the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.

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