Before the days of morgues, bodies were usually conveyed to a local hotel where an inquest would be held. The 1867 Coroners’ Act made it obligatory for licensed hotel keepers to take in any body that might be brought there for the purpose of an inquest, following instructions from any Justice of the Peace or Police Constable. This clause formalised matters: hotels had already been used for coroner’s inquests, but this law not only required hotel-keepers to receive bodies but also rendered them liable to a fine not exceeding £5 if they refused to do so. It further stipulated that they were to be paid £1 for each body received.
Researched and compiled by Ric Carlyon