Pauper's funeral

This article refers to funerals under the English Poor Laws. For modern usage see Public health funeral.

In the United Kingdom, a pauper's funeral was a funeral for a pauper paid for under the Poor law. This policy addressed the condition of the poor people Britain such as those living in the workhouses, where a growing population of the British ended their days from the 1850s to the 1860s.[1] This period saw between 32 and 48 percent increase in the proportion of the elderly and the sick paupers in these institutions.[1] An account described how poor people could not avail themselves of the funeral relief until they entered the workhouse.[2]

The phrase is still sometimes used, both in the UK and some Commonwealth countries, to describe a public health funeral (or equivalent service outside the UK): a basic burial paid for by the local authority when funeral arrangements cannot (or will not) be made by the family of the deceased. For instance, due to the inability of some families to pay for funeral costs the local authorities pay for the expenses of around 4,000 burials in the country every year.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Grell, Ole Peter; Cunningham, Andrew (2017). Health Care and Poor Relief in 18th and 19th Century Northern Europe. Oxon: Routledge. p. 227. ISBN 978-0754602750.
  2. ^ King, Steven; Jones, Peter (2015). Obligation, Entitlement and Dispute under the English Poor Laws. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 312. ISBN 9781443880770.
  3. ^ Lowe, Jonquil; Butler, Jason; Luu, Lien (2018-12-13). Essential Personal Finance: A Practical Guide for Employees. Routledge. ISBN 9781351041645.