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by Blair S. Walker, AARP Bulletin, December 2009
If the thought of sharing a gravesite with a perfect stranger makes you shudder, be glad you don’t live in London. The 153-year-old City of London Cemetery is starting to dig “double-decker” graves because the city has limited room for the dead.
Many of the cemetery’s more than 150,000 gravesites feature new graves situated over resting places that have been in existence a century or more. The remains of the first occupants are undisturbed, says cemetery superintendent Gary Burks, if they were laid to rest deep enough.
“Other European cities, such as Berlin and Paris, reuse graves as a matter of course and have been doing so for many years,” Burks says.
Still, “people instinctively don’t like the idea,” says Jill Lawless, a London-based reporter with the Associated Press.
Cremations are $816, burials are $2,672 and up.
Blair S. Walker, who frequently writes for the Bulletin’s In the News section, lives in Miami.
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