Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers A very unusual man

The first legal cremation

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 18 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1635
  1. Jane Smillie, general practitioner
  1. Bridgend, south Wales

    From here I can see East Caerlan field. This was the site of the first prearranged legal cremation.

    A crowd of 20 000 was said to have gathered to witness this last scene of Dr William Price. Souvenir hunters scavenged among the remains of the furnace, possibly aware that this was a seminal event.

    Price, born in 1800, one of seven offspring of an ordained priest, became a local legend. A great antiestablishment figure, he was responsible for changing the established practice of disposal of the dead.

    He set up medical practice near Pontypridd, after a distinguished undergraduate career. He passed the examination of the Royal College of Surgeons within a year of arriving in London.

    A local reputation …

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