The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Undertakers’ windows: Heaven On Earth

Friday, 31 January 2014



Believe it or not, this beautiful undertaker’s window is full of the iconography of death. Heaven on Earth is in the city of Bristol and is run by Paula Rainey-Crofts and Simon Durgan. It is one of the pioneer ‘alternative’ undertakers. (There has to be a better term than ‘alternative’, what is it?)

Urbi et orbi = ‘to the city and to the world’. Nice touch, revealing, perhaps, a Catholic influence and an elegant sense of humour. These words customarily preface the Pope’s Easter and Christmas blessings to the massed faithful in St Peter’s Square.

4 comments on “Undertakers’ windows: Heaven On Earth

  1. Jonathan

    Sunday 2nd February 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I agree there has to be an alternative to ‘alternative’, though it seems to me you can’t have just one alternative because the thing it’s an alternative to is its own alternative. ‘Alternative’ was some time ago purloined to mean ‘hippy’ – a long way from the desired effect – but it is here supposed to refer to something other than the norm, so perhaps ‘abnormal’ undertakers would be no worse – oh dear!

    I’m not a vegetarian just because you eat meat; if I have a fag that doesn’t make you a non-smoker; if I conduct a funeral in English it doesn’t make it non-Portugese. Perhaps there is no ‘alternative’ undertaker in the sense meant; if you want an undertaker to do things the way you want her to, that’s what she must do, and if not, you take your custom elsewhere just as you do with any other purchase – why should we need an alternative?

    • Sunday 2nd February 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Quite right. And to follow your logic, the only people to whom ‘alternative’ undertakers are alternative are those whom ‘proper’ undertakers reckon to be ‘not one of us’ or ‘simply won’t do’.

      • Monday 3rd February 2014 at 7:38 am

        Sorry, that doesn’t quite make sense — but you get what I mean.

  2. Friday 31st January 2014 at 8:28 pm


    How about Nouveau or Renaissance Celebrants or Funeral Managers?

    I think even the use of the word Undertaker is morbid and should be avoided.

    Hopefully soon all funerals will be seen as a celebration of life.

    Andy Clarke at Wealden Coffins

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