Story: Death and dying

Funeral directors: Harry Thompson, 1914 (1st of 3)

Funeral directors: Harry Thompson, 1914

Harry Thompson, a Hokitika funeral director, heads the funeral cortège of George Taylor as it moves through the town on 17 September 1914. Harry Thompson wears the distinctive black suit and high top hat of an undertaker, clothes adopted to indicate the seriousness and formality of funerals and respect for the dead. The horse-drawn hearse is followed by other carts and people on foot. In small towns like Hokitika many members of the community would participate in a funeral and men were expected to doff their hats as the hearse passed. The purchase of a hearse was one of the major capital expenses of people setting up funeral businesses at this time.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Worters, Taylor and Havill Collection
Reference: PAColl-5967-3
Photograph by B. Thiem

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ruth McManus and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Death and dying - Bodies of the dead', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 May 2024)

Story by Ruth McManus and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 16 May 2018, updated 1 Nov 2023