Inquest At St George’s

On Thursday the 28th of June, 1888, the vestry of St. George’s-In-The-East met to discuss local parish issues.

One point that was raised in the course of the meeting as how unsatisfactory the local mortuary was.

This mortuary still exists, although it now in a perilous state of ruin.

It was to this building that the body of Elizabeth Stride was brought following her murder on the 30th of September 1888; and a year or so later, so too were the remains of the woman whom history now remembers only as, “The Pinchin Street Torso.

The Eastern Post carried the following report on the proceedings in its edition of Saturday the 30th of June 1888:-


Mr. Dickson said that on Saturday a man dropped down dead on Old Gravel Lane Bridge, and a drowned man was taken out of the water on the same day.

The inquest was not held till Tuesday afternoon, and meanwhile the bodies were kept in the mortuary.

In such weather, placed as the mortuary is, right in the way of children and others, and contiguous to dwellings, such cases constituted a great nuisance and danger.

The body of the man found drowned was in a dreadful state.

He should like to know whose place it was to give the coroner notice for inquests, and who was responsible for such delay.

The former mortuary in the churchyard.
The Former Mortuary In The Churchyard of St George’s In the East.


After conversation on details, and on the motion of Mr. Watts, instructions were given to the sanitary officer, who holds the keys of the mortuary, to communicate with the coroner’s officer as soon as he heard of cases of the kind, independently of any other communications that may be made; and it was agreed that he be held responsible to the vestry.


Mr. Smellie asked Dr. Rygate, the medical officer, whether he was aware that the body of a man who died in Martha Street on the 14th inst. was kept till the 24th before burial.

The Medical Officer said that he had not heard anything of the case.

The Sanitary Officer also had heard nothing of it.

Mr. Watts asked if there had been and inquest, to which Mr. Smellie replied that there had been no inquest.

The body, he added, had been kept on account of the fellow workmen attending the funeral.


The feeling was expressed that such delayed burials were dangerous, especially at this time of the year.