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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
25th May 1905 Born today: Binnie Barnes, London, actress (Adv of Marco Polo, Diamond Jim)
25th May 1878 Gilbert/Sullivans opera HMS Pinafore, premieres in London
Last Suicide Crossroads Burial
The last suicide burial at a crossroads in England.
Location: Grosvenor Place
Description: In the distant past until the Victorian era suicides were commonly buried at crossroads, as it was seen as the same as murder (criminals were also buried at crossroads).
Crossroad burial was officially abolished by Act of Parliament in 1823 after opposition to the practice was encouraged when George IV's carriage was held up by a crowd of spectators here on this spot.
They were watching the burial at this crossroads with Lower Grosvenor Place and Grosvenor Place of a suicide called Abel Griffiths. It's now the entrance to the bus station at Victoria Station.
Suicide was becoming regarded with much greater sympathy at this point, while population growth and the development of transport meant that rural crossroads no longer seemed so remote. For a period following abolition, however, suicides could only be buried in graveyards between 9pm and midnight, and no ceremonies were allowed.
This is known as the last crossroads suicide burial in Britain, although it's probably merely the last high profile burial.
Tagged in this Tour: Dark London