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Death early 20th Century and before

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Funeral wakes in early 20th century working class families

By the webmaster’s mother, 1906-2002

Where the wake was held and the refreshments

After a funeral everyone would go back to the family's house for a meal. This was mostly in the form of ham and trimmings and was called the funeral wake or just the wake.

What people did and said at the wake

Such gatherings would often end in wrangles, especially when the deceased's life and property were discussed.

My father always said, "If you've only got two sticks, they'll fight over them". Perhaps this wasn't surprising as so much of what people had in the way of furniture and clothes were hand-me-downs. There was so little ready money.

In spite of the wrangles, everyone tended to enjoy the wake get-togethers, as some of them would not have seen one another since the last a funeral or wedding.


Page based on the recollections and notes of the webmaster's mother (1906-2002) with additional research and editorial work by the webmaster

Text and images are copyright



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