all happening with our local crematoria. One council-run crematorium, which
currently occupies converted, Victorian cemetery chapels, has achieved unanimous,
approval from councillors for replacement with a £7 million purpose-built
facility. Meanwhile, the privately-run crematorium we primarily use is halfway
through construction work for a second chapel and hospitality/catering suite.
They’ve been canvassing all their regular funeral directors with ideas for
different improvements, one of which is digital signage around the grounds and
inside the buildings.
digital signage I mean programmable electronic ones – a bit like the matrix
signs you have on motorways - but obviously much smaller. In theory it’s a very
sensible idea, especially as the crematorium will have two separate chapels,
each with their own car parking: ‘Funeral of Joe Bloggs – 11.30am. Turn left
for Autumn Leaves Chapel’ or Funeral of Mary Brown – 12.15pm. Turn right for
the Silver Threads Chapel’. But it needs to be carefully thought about, or
it’ll just feel too indiscreet and inappropriate. I don’t think families will
appreciate having their loved one’s name up in lights by the main gates for all
and sundry to see. I told the crematorium manager that for me it just conjures visions
of corteges swinging in through the gates and being confronted with ’WARNING –
QUEUES AHEAD’ or ‘DANGER – SMOKE ON CARRIAGEWAY’.
not wholly blown away with having interactive screens in the waiting area either:
‘The Late Mrs. Hilda Smith – touch screen for funeral time. Swipe right for
directions to the toilets.’
also talk of digital display screens inside the chapels for families to have
montages of photos featuring their loved one which, if done in the right way,
can sometimes be a nice touch. But it’s all a slippery slope towards further automation:
and gentlemen, we’d like to direct your attention to the television monitors in
front of you. We will be showing our safety demonstration and would like the
next few minutes of your complete attention. There are several emergency exits
in this chapel. Please take a few moments to locate your nearest exit. If we
need to evacuate the chapel, floor-level lighting will guide you towards the
request that all mobile phones, pagers & radios be turned off for the
duration of the funeral, as these items might interfere with the communication
equipment in this chapel, as well as distracting the vicar. We request that all
other electronic devices be turned off too, until after the service. We will
notify you when it is safe to use such devices.
remind you that this is a non-smoking crematorium and that tampering with, or
disabling, the paper towel dispensers in the lavatories is also prohibited. You
will find this and all the other information in the service sheets located on
the pew in front of you. We strongly suggest you read them before send-off.
the funeral the crematorium staff will be passing around the hospitality suite
to offer you hot or cold drinks, as well as light meals or snacks. Alcoholic
drinks are also available at a nominal charge. If you have any questions,
please don’t hesitate to ask one of our crew members. We wish you all an
uplifting funeral and thank you for mourning with us today. We hope not to see
you again too soon.”
the crematorium looking to be able to handle 21 funerals a day across the two
chapels, let alone all activity in the hospitality suite too, it’s certainly
going to be a busy place.
bong: "The next cortege to arrive is the 11.30 service for Muriel Brown, calling
at the Autumn Leaves Chapel, the floral tribute display area and the
hospitality suite. The next cortege to arrive in the cemetery section is the burial
of Fred Jones, calling at the Silver Threads Chapel before interment in his
regret to announce that the 12.15pm service for Joe Hawkins in the Autumn
Leaves Chapel is delayed by approximately 12 minutes due to temporary traffic
lights on the journey here. Please listen for further announcements. We're
sorry for the delay to this service."
even want to set up a Facebook page for the crematorium. Heaven help us all…
James Baker owns and runs Fred Stevens Funeral Directors of Nailsworth, Glos.
He is the author of “A Life In Death – Memoirs Of A Cotswold Funeral Director” www.amazon.co.uk