Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The father of cremation

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2183 (Published 21 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2183
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    In his wonderful memoir of his early life in the Rhondda Valley and in London, Print of a Hare’s Foot, Rhys Davies (1901-78) devotes an entire chapter to Dr William Price of Llantrisant. Dr Price (1800-93) was eccentric, to put it mildly; but he was a real doctor, having qualified in 1821 at Barts in record time. He is said to have cured many where others failed; he operated surgically only as a last resort or (by his own admission) if he needed the money.

    Davies’s memoirs lend romance to a time and place that, superficially at least, rather lack it if one just looks at old photographs. Davies was born in relatively privileged circumstances, being the …

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