Item BCA - 2017.1283 - Coffin Plate owned by Ted Dixey of Fisher's Bridge, Buckland Road

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BCA - 2017.1283


Coffin Plate owned by Ted Dixey of Fisher's Bridge, Buckland Road


  • 2015 (Creation)

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pdf of 5 pictures

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This coffin plate was found in the garage of Ted Dixey who lived at Fisher's Bridge in Buckland Road. Ted's close friend Jack Joyce was the local coffin maker and he may have given this to Ted, or Ted may have been given it as a memento of Jack after Jack died. Ted has chalked on the deaths of various people - John (always called Jack) Joyce died 10pm 23rd September 1967 aged 58; Tony Giles died June 1984; Ruth (Ferguson, Ted's sister) died 20th October 1986; Tom Weston died April 1986. The picture of the back of the coffin plate shows several rust patches. The other pages are pages from a book which shows a variety of coffin plates that used to be made.
Coffin plates are decorative adornments attached to a coffin that can contain various inscriptions like the name and death date of the deceased or a simple term of endearment. They are usually made of a soft metal like lead, pewter, silver, brass, copper or tin. The different metals reflect the different functions of the plates, or the status and wealth of the deceased. For a basic funeral, a simple lead plate would be lettered with the name, date of death and often the age of the departed, and nailed to the lid of a wooden coffin. But high status people could afford a plate of a more expensive metal and elaborate design. Coffin plates go back at least as far as the 17th century and were reserved for people of wealth. Through the centuries, more people were able to afford the luxury of a coffin plate and with the industrial revolution, by the mid-19th century, the cost of the plates decreased so much that almost every family could afford to have one put on the coffin of their loved ones. When coffin plates began increasing in popularity, the practice of removing the plates from the coffin before burial became the trend as they were often removed by the loved ones to be kept as mementos of the deceased. This practice peaked in the late 19th century. In the UK and Australia coffin name plates are legally required (whether for burial and cremation) as a means of identifying the deceased.

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