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  • Writer's pictureRuth Jewell

All Shapes, and Sizes, and Colours, and Designs - Coffins that is!

When it comes to coffins there is literally no limit to what you can have. From the simplest swaddling to the most ornate, everything is possible.

Your Funeral Director will have a brochure with lots of different options, but remember that you can have whatever you want (if you can afford it) and therefore are not limited by what a brochure has to offer.

A quick visit to my Pinterest Board will show you some examples of the options available, and believe me, this is just the tip of the iceburg.

I am sure you will all have seen the elaborate coffins that have been chosen for celebrities and Royalty over the years. These are available to anyone. With printed vinyl becoming more readily accessible, the option to personalise a coffin is now more readily available to everyone and opens up a wealth of options.

You can have coffins that are plain, so that you can decorate them yourself. Some people choose to purchase their coffin years before they die, and then incorporate it into their home as a coffee table or feature. The world really is your oyster.

When Charles Darwin died the local carpenter in the village made his coffin, just as Darwin had requested. In the words of Mr. John Lewis the carpenter:-

"I made Mr. Darwin's coffin. They buried him in Westminster Abbey, but he always wanted to lie here, and I don't think he'd have liked it if he knew.

I made his coffin just as he wanted it: all rough, just as it left the bench, no polish, no nothing.

But when they agreed to send him to Westminster they had to get another undertaker. And my coffin wasn't wanted, and they sent it back. This other one you could see to shave in."

Darwin wanted to be buried in the local churchyard where some of his children and his brother were laid to rest, but his scientific work had made him so famous that he was given a state funeral, and buried at Westminster Abbey.

Whilst Darwin would have much preferred that rough hewn box, made by a man who had worked for him for sixty years, it wasn't to be. However, times have changed, and had he died now, then his wishes would have be respected, at least in the type of coffin he had chosen.

We are so lucky to have the option of choice. My advice would be to look at the options now, see what is available and what would suit you. Make sure your wishes are written down and kept in a safe place (with your Will is probably the safest). Remember that your choice of coffin will need to reflect your choice of burial or cremation. For example, if you chose a natural burial, then your coffin will need to be environmentally friendly. That doesn't mean though that it can't reflect your personality. Anything really is possible!

P.S. I am looking forward to a visit to The Coffin Works, in Birmingham.

( ) They offer guided tours..... "The shelves and workbenches at Newman Brothers are full of original stock and tools of the trade. With the original machinery working again, you can truly experience how this old Jewellery Quarter firm once operated on a day-to-day basis, producing some of the world’s finest coffin furniture, including the fittings for the funerals of Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother." I will be writing a blog post, so keep your eyes peeled.


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