Crematoria - What services do they offer?

Crematoria - What services do they offer?

Crematoria are where the cremation of human bodies takes place after death. There are about 300 in the UK, and you can find a crematorium close to you here. Currently, about 75-percent of people choose cremation.

Arranging a cremation

The deceased's next of kin or the Executor usually employ a funeral director to make the arrangements. He will take care of the transport of the body and will obtain the required medical certificates.

The allotted time for each cremation is usually between 30 and 45-minutes. If there is to be a religious service it may be necessary to book two slots.

What happens on the day?

Mourners gather in the chapel for either a full religious ceremony or a short committal ceremony. Some choose not to have a ceremony. At the moment of the committal of the body, staff remove the coffin from the chapel or hide it from view using curtains. Usually, the guests leave at this time, however, relatives can accompany the coffin into the committal room and observe the entry into the cremator with prior arrangement.

What happens next?

Before entering into the cremator the operator checks the nameplate on the coffin and makes an identity card. This will accompany the remains until the family collects them from the crematorium.

An approved coffin must be used for cremations and the body remains in it. No other items can accompany the coffin and all jewellery should have been previously removed from the body. The cremator receives just one body at a time, except in exceptional instances, such as a mother and baby.

The cremation process takes usually between two and a half and three hours, and the temperature in the cremator is between 750 and 1000-degrees Celsius. The average person creates 2-4-kg of cremated remains which contain ashes along with tiny pieces of bone. The cremated remains go into a sealed container with the label.

What options for disposal of the ashes do crematoria offer?

Most crematoria have a Garden of Remembrance where you can scatter the ashes. Normally you can not mark the place where you spread an individual's remains. Some crematoria have niches where caskets and urns can remain for a period of time. Some offer wall mounted plaques and others the option to plant a rose or a shrub.

All crematoria have a Book of Remembrance which is visible in a special memorial chapel. This allows the family to visit each year on the anniversary of the death to view the book. Viewing can also take place at other times with special arrangement.

Relatives can also collect the remains in a suitable recipient and dispose of them or keep them, as they choose.