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what happens at a crematorium

What happens when the curtains close at a UK crematorium?

What happens when the curtains close at a UK crematorium?

The coffin is removed and placed ready to go in the cremation oven, this may happen straight away or delayed for a few hours until capacity comes available.

Is that all you want to know? I doubt it, otherwise you would not have typed the question in Google. This blog is here to dispel a few myths too that get asked of me, you would be surprised what people ‘believe’ or have been told by a ‘friend of a friend’.

Right firstly for all your conspiracy types lets dispel a few myths:

  • No people aren’t left in the ‘back room for days on end’.
  • No, the coffin is not opened to be either used for someone else or some ghoulish cremation assistant to pilfer stuff.

What does happen is the body is placed into oven, if they are in use then the body will be stored for a short a time as possible until one becomes available, this can be a few hours or potential overnight.

The coffin goes in to oven, one coffin only, it only fits one coffin (there is one exception but this is very rare and particular). So, no not everyone is mixed up cremated together.

The oven then heats up to a temperature ranging between 1000 to 1300 degrees Celsius and the body is burnt, for sake of argument this takes about 90 minutes. The tray that the coffin rested upon is then removed from the oven – there different processing different crematoria, but lets go with this one.

At this point the coffin will have combusted apart from tacks, nails and staples – metal parts. Due to the temperature, there will be little other residue from the coffin.

The body will have been reduced to a bone; the larger bones will remain intact e.g. the pelvis. The other constituents will be not combustible elements e.g. metal jewellery, gold fillings, replacement hips and knees etc. Not pacemakers, these are removed by a doctor beforehand.

Next, metallic items are removed. These are now recycled most by the Orthmetals scheme which recycles the metals and the crematorium receives a money from this, which they then donate to charity. Do cremation operative remove precious metals at this point, they may but, they are likely to face instant dismissal for gross mis conduct if they do. I would say this should prompt you to remove jewellery before the person is cremated, and whilst this may be sad the that they are not cremated without a wedding ring say – it is perhaps better to hold on to it and pass it on.

The bones are placed in to a machine known a cremulator (these vary in in process and mechanism) but effectively they reduce the bones into a fine matter know ashes. So yes, ashes are bones.

Throughout the process there will be documentation and tags to make sure that the body is correctly identified.

The ashes will then be placed in a utilitarian urn. Which can be collected by the applicant or the funeral director.

Don’t believe me, fair enough. Go and see for yourself: many crematoria participate in the Open doors days


6 thoughts on “What happens when the curtains close at a UK crematorium?

  1. Reply
    A - 2nd December 2023

    Thank you for this article it clarified what I was wondering after funeral yesterday

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 8th December 2023

      You are most welcome

  2. Reply
    Bingham - 20th November 2023

    Thank you for your words, very interesting. Yes I was one of those people who thought body’s taken out of box’s and burned, also hoped done individually but did wonder. I like the idea of a cardboard box

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 8th December 2023

      Our pleasure!

  3. Reply
    K wells - 7th November 2023

    Is there any fat or stuff from body left in cremator

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 13th November 2023

      No, just bones (ashes) and metal from the coffin.

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