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Memorisation in a modern world

The changing face of municipal memorialsation

It would seem councils are waking up to the fact that people are general cremated and now that people no longer scatter their loved ones ashes at the crematoria that they may have changing role in relation to public memorialisation.

I came across this from Kelso in Scotland. A councillor has been petitioning Scottish Borders Council for a number of months to provide a memorial garden, permit memorial plaques and allocate space for the ashes of people with connections to the town.

The council binned his idea as there was no ‘compelling business case’ as families take the ashes of their loved ones away and scatter them at a place special to them.

However Mr King told the Southern Reporter* “If more people are being cremated, then some provision like a memorial wall needs to be made. There is a long wall round the cemetery – could plaques not be fixed to that?

“I know relatives often scatter someone’s ashes somewhere special, but there still needs to be a place for a public acknowledgement that this person actually existed.”

Now this is interesting, there clearly is a thought that people will be ‘lost’ if there is no record for posterity – something I have banged on about in the past. Not that I think that you need a memorial in an official place – because the connection is to an environment. For clarity I think it is different to memorial for a cause or event that may have happened many miles away WWII Merchant Navy for example. It seems unlikely to me that a family would memorialise at a wall that had no association with their loved one? I think this is a transitional period society is going through, why would any future generation visit a memorial garden like that?

Imagine if you will..

.‘Aye Billy there’s yer wee Grandpapie he is twenty-seventh from the right and four up’

‘ what his name doing up there Dar?’

‘No idea son just seemed fittin’ you know’

‘Look dar here’s is his memorial page on the web, it has everything from his loves and passions, to his school record’

‘ Aye I know son, but look ye cani argue wi’ a plaque wi’ his name on it…’

Sorry if my attempt at dialect was woeful but you get the point. Yes we absolutely need a record of where people scatter a loved ones ashes, I would argue this should to be paper or electronic and recorded by municipal authority if possible. People trust local authorities with records, I can’t see that changing.

Next time see what they doing in Adelaide…

* Only southern in Scottish terms.

Picture copyright The Southern Reporter

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