During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the population of Britain boomed, and thousands of people moved from the country to the city in search of work and a better life. Overcrowded and insanitary urban living conditions were the norm for most working people, creating breeding grounds for disease and accidents.
How did people cope with high levels of sickness and death in these circumstances? What practical support and care could be given to the dying? And in a time when a funeral could take days to organise and raise funds for, and mortuaries were not widely available, what happened to the bodies of the dead?
Dr Molly Conisbee works for the South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP), based at the University of Bristol. She also researches the social history of dying and death, and, pandemics permitting, leads regular ‘death walks’, exploring social histories of mortality.
She has organized these for Bathscape, Bristol Walking Festival, Bristol Museum, and the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. Follow on twitter @MollyConisbee