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Yorkshire, Leeds, cremations 1938-1969 Cremation was not legal in Britain until 1885, though the population of towns and cities exploded during the Industrial Revolution, making the disposal of human remains a serious concern. In the Vienna Exposition of 1873, Queen Victoria’s physician Sir Henry Thompson saw a model of an Italian cremation apparatus and became a passionate advocate of cremation. Sir Henry saw cremation as a more sanitary alternative which would prevent premature burial, reduce the expense of funerals, and spare mourners from unnecessary exposure to the elements during interment. Also, urns would be safe from vandalism.

These records contain the details of 25,042 men and women cremated at the Cottingley Hall crematorium in Leeds, from just after it opened in 1937 until 1969. They include information such as name, age, year of birth, date of death, as well as the place and date of their cremation.