First-ever UK coffin exhibition opens

The BBC reports coffins and other items associated with funerals go on display this weekend at the first ever exhibition of its kind held in the UK.

Instead of paintings or artefacts, anyone visiting Belsay Hall in Northumberland will be able to see an unusual exhibition aimed at breaking down the taboo of bereavement. Organisers have gathered together a varied range of coffins and caskets, including a coffin shaped like the Angel of the North and another shaped like a canal barge.

The exhibition, called Handle with Care, will also feature a coffin which was specially built for a ski enthusiast.

Modes of transport used at funerals through the ages will form another part of the display, with several hearses, a Victorian coach and horses, and a motorcycle and sidecar hearse on display.

And a room has been set aside for “coffin preparation”, where visitors can experience coffins being fitted and trimmed.

The British Institute of Funeral Directors, who are joint organisers with English Heritage, says it hopes to give an insight into the vast array of coffins and caskets available today and to demonstrate the revival of traditional materials and crafts.