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Death in Modern Scotland, 1855–1955

Beliefs, Attitudes and Practices

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Edited By Susan Buckham, Peter C. Jupp and Julie Rugg

The period 1855 to 1955 was pivotal for modern Scottish death culture. Within art and literature death was a familiar companion, with its imagined presence charting the fears and expectations behind the public face of mortality. Framing new concepts of the afterlife became a task for both theologians and literary figures, both before and after the Great War. At the same time, medical and legal developments began to shift mortality into the realms of regulation and control. This interdisciplinary collection draws from the fields of art, literature, social history, religion, demography, legal history and architectural and landscape history. The essays employ a range of methodologies and materials – visual, statistical, archival and literary – to illustrate the richness of the primary sources for studying death in Scotland. They highlight a number of intersecting themes, including spirituality and the afterlife, the impact of war, materiality and the disposal of the body, providing new perspectives on how attitudes towards death have affected human behaviour on both personal and public levels, and throwing into relief some of the unique features of Scottish society.
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12. Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria 1895–1955

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HILARY J. GRAINGER

12. Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria 1895–1955

Introduction

Until very recently Scotland’s twenty-eight crematoria have been almost entirely absent from architectural histories of Scotland – they are in many ways the ‘invisible’ buildings of the twentieth century.1 But they tell us a great deal about the complex and changing nature of Scottish attitudes to death and disposal in the sixty years under consideration. As cremation slowly gained acceptance in Scotland, this progress was reflected in the design of its crematoria. This chapter profiles the seven crematoria built by 1955 and seeks to evaluate their contribution to the architectural expression of cremation in Scotland.

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