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Victorian Society Lecture: Lawnswood Crematorium and changing attitudes to death and disposal in the Victorian Era

by The Leeds Library


We talk a lot in contemporary society about people’s ‘lifestyle’, but arguably less about their ‘death-style’. Death remains something of a taboo subject and for many people crematoria tend to be ‘invisible’ buildings despite the move from burial to cremation representing one of the most fundamental cultural changes of the past 150 years. Cremation was revived by the Victorians in the 1870s and Lawnswood, opened in 1905, was the UK’s eleventh crematorium. This lecture explores its significant contribution to the architectural expression of cremation during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. 

About the speaker 

Professor Hilary J Grainger OBE is Professor Emerita, Architectural History, University of the Arts London and an Honorary Professor at Durham University. She is Chair of the Victorian Society and the Cremation Society of Great Britain and Vice-President of the International Cremation Federation. Her most recent book, Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria was published by Birlinn in 2020. 


A note about accessibility – Unfortunately, our Grade II* listed building is not currently fully accessible. We have a stair lift from the ground floor foyer to the first floor but are unable to install a through-floor lift due to the building’s historic status. Please email us on enquiries@theleedslibrary.org.uk if you have any questions around access, and we will do everything that we can to accommodate you.  

The Leeds Library is committed to making its building and collections accessible to everyone in our current capital building works project The Next Chapter Project. To find out more, please visit the website HERE. 


Date and Time

Thu, March 23, 2023

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


The Leeds Library

18 Commercial Street
Leeds, England LS1 6AL United Kingdom

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