Clubs are made of people who share common goals and values. Those who belong to burial clubs are no exception.
Burial clubs were formed in Britain during the 19th century to help the poor people who were unable to afford a traditional funeral for their family members. These groups consisted of churches, volunteer associations and trade unions. Until then the only other option for economically deprived families was the pauper’s funeral which meant that loved ones were buried in a common grave and often without an individual headstone.
Members of these clubs paid a weekly membership fee. In turn the club took care of funeral expenses regardless of how long one had been a member. The amount payable was determined by the age of the deceased person and the type of funeral that was involved.
Records show that these societies could have as many as 5000 members and were not under governmental jurisdiction. Unfortunately, many of them collapsed from embezzlement and/or poor management.
Most burial clubs were part of larger assistance programs, which included boot, clothing and coal clubs.
Modern Burial Clubs
Today many people find it difficult to manage the expenses of a funeral. Burial groups are still in existence to serve those in need. Subscription fees are collected by these service-oriented not-for-profit organizations.
In some situations there are organizations that also provide burial grounds as well as funeral insurance.
For example in England’s West Somerset area there are two Quaker burial grounds. One of them is open to relatives of those who are already buried there.
Burial clubs have long provided families with an opportunity to honor their loved ones in a way that maintains the dignity of all concerned.