Happier Hunting Ground (U.K. Branch)

The Daily Telegraph has run an article on the history and current status of pet cemeteries and crematoria in the U.K. A cite to Waugh’s 1948 novella The Loved One, which prominently described one such institution in Southern California, was perhaps inevitable. But the conclusions drawn are somewhat surprising:

One assumes pet cemeteries to be an adopted tradition inherited from America – the preserve of the Hollywood types depicted in Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One, who pay through the nose to bury their animals in the luxurious Happier Hunting Ground. But we Britons have been similarly extroverted in grief for hundreds of years.

The Victorian era was when official pet cemeteries started to spring up here. In 1881, the Hyde Park pet cemetery was started. Six years later, in a quiet corner of the Sandringham estate, Queen Victoria created a cemetery to accommodate her collie, Noble. In 1959, Elizabeth II buried her first corgi, Susan, there. Nowadays its brick boundary walls are lined with numerous plaques commemorating other deceased royal pets.

Waugh certainly seems to have assumed that pet cemeteries were a U.S. phenomenon; otherwise his satirization in The Loved One might not have been so sharp on that subject.

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