For all the nameless souls buried beneath the roads and pavements of London’s East End and beyond, I’ve written this free song, ‘Judgement Day’. This fortnight it’s all about rotting bodies.
This one comes straight from Cable Street in London’s East End, we’re talking about suicide burials.
The daily grind of a 9-to-5 job can easily disappear into a sludge of mind numbing tasks and brain-dead monotony. But every now and again this life sentence can be interrupted by a freak occurrence or grim discovery. And I’m not talking about a stubborn deposit in the Men’s. Maybe you arrive at work to find someone has hacked into your email account, or nicked your staple remover to pedicure their toenails, or you find a rotting corpse on your desk wrapped in chains with a stake driven through its heart. No? Well it happened to some workmen in 1886.
True account; Cable Street in East London and workmen are working away. I say working, of course one was probably working with six others sitting around on their arses. Employed by a commercial gas company to dig trenches and lay pipes, they stumble across a skeleton wrapped in chains with a stake driven through its heart.
Murder most horrid? A crime of the upmost barbarity? No, a regular suicide burial.
Up until the suicide burial act of 1823, it was judged the right and proper thing for upright respectable Christian folk, to maim the corpse of an individual who had committed suicide and then bury it with no ceremony by a roadside so that people could walk over it. That’s if they got buried at all. Most people when they discovered a corpse hanging from a tree or washed up on the shore, would ignore it and let it rot away,hoping someone else would pick up the pieces.
So next time you’re skipping through the streets of East London spare a thought for the poor souls who may be just under your feet.