Reconstruction drawing showing the operation of the Catacombs

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Reconstruction drawing showing the operation of the Catacombs

The Catacombs were built in 1834 in the aftermath of the cholera outbreak. Their architecture was in the Egyptian style, made popular by England's contacts with Egypt following the Napoleonic Wars. This pen-and-ink drawing by Richard Parker shows the Catacombs c.1840; on the left can be seen the old crowded cemetery built within the city wall at Bartholomew Yard. The massive city wall is left of centre. The catacombs consisted of a series of vaulted cellar-like rooms in which coffins were to be stacked. They proved unpopular and only a few burials were ever placed there.

Acknowledgments: R. Parker, Exeter Archaeology