Since the nineteenth century the management of burial grounds has been the function of the cemetery superintendent. Responsible as he or she is for maintenance of the site, grave preparation, burial procedures, administration and staffing, the superintendent’s remit has gained complexity in the twentieth century through bureaucratization, legislation and more recently from ‘customer focus’. The shifting preference towards cremation has further widened the scope of the work. Little, however, has been written about the occupation. Focusing on the career of John Robertson, superintendent of the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium between 1913 and 1936, this paper draws from his contributions to The Undertakers’ Journal
(TUJ), and in particular a series of articles concerning the design and management of cemeteries that forms the largest collection of literature on the subject published in the twentieth century. The paper also examines his involvement with the National Association of Cemetery Superintendents (NACS), an organization founded to support the occupation’s quest for professional recognition. From a genealogical perspective this article underlines the importance of surveying a wide range of sources when conducting genealogical researching.
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