‘Drinking shop’ for the dead

Cookson Country
Cookson Country

I think I’m right in saying that few if any funerals take place on Sundays these days, though it was once common if you go far enough back.

That would be to at least the turn of last century, when,I’ve been intrigued to note, South Shields Council debated an appeal to them from the Free Church Ministers’ Association, that they double the cost of Sunday funerals to discourage folk from having them!

Seemingly their popularity was making some cemeteries look “like the Market” on some days.

The Council, however, proved compassionate. This was an era when the dead often rested at home, sometimes for five or six days, and in a tenemented home, with perhaps only one or two rooms, that wasn’t always desirable, especially at - er - certain times of the year. They refused the clergymen’s plea - though they did express dismay at the tendency of many relatives and friends during this period of lying at home, to call in and have a drink at the same time, so that “the place becomes a drinking shop the whole of the week.”Good send off, though!