Crazy Coffins – It’s All About What You Want

by J-Stacknik

A skateboard, corkscrew or perhaps this Rolls Royce coffin which is perfect for motoring enthusiasts who want a luxury ride to the afterlife. c. Vic Fearn & Company Ltd.

There is a company in England that will custom make a coffin for you. There is no limit to what they will do, and some of these coffins are quite unique and involved, from a replica of the Orient Express to a biodegradable ballerina’s slipper, a cell phone, guitar, wine cork, and even a skateboard. The company, Vic Fearn & Company Ltd. has existed for 160 years but began making the coffins they are now famous for in 1990. They were given the name Crazy Coffins by The Sun newspaper in England and it has stuck with the company.

The company gained notoriety after making a coffin in the shape of a aeroplane fuselage, after that came requests for all kinds of unusual coffins and they slowly gained a reputation for their unusual designs throughout the world. “I don’t think it’s macabre. Most of the time it’s people saying ‘This is me, this is my life and I want to celebrate it.’ ” says David Crampton, Director, of the Vic Fearn & Company Ltd. (Crazy Coffins).

The coffins take about two weeks to make and costs vary between $1,600 to $10,000 depending on how much work is involved. Many have been ordered by the living, well in advance of their deaths and others are ordered by bereaved families for loved ones. In both cases Vic Fearn & Company has to approach the business transaction with the sensitivity and skill of someone commissioned to paint a self portrait.

The 30 employees at Vic Fearn & Company, who are mostly cabinet makers and even a

A Viking ship coffin for a Viking themed sendoff. c. Vic Fearn & Company.

piano maker, do not consider themselves artists, “The only artists among us are the clients themselves. Each one of them has a vision of how a funeral should be. Each is his or her own theatre director. We ourselves play a subordinate part, just as, in the conventional theatre, the carpenters do, who make up the sets.” Crampton says.

British pensioner Malcolm Brocklehurst loves the Blackpool Football Club and his former profession as an aircraft engineer, and he has no plans to abandon them in death. So his final home will be a coffin shaped like a plane, painted bright orange and emblazoned with the Blackpool logo. “I want a fun funeral. I don’t want people crying and that,” says the 77 year old Brocklehurst as he leaned happily on his casket, on display at London’s Royal Hall as part of an event titled Death: A Festival for the Living.

Brocklehurst’s sendoff plans are a good example of the niche that Crazy Coffins is filling. In his 77 years he has more than likely been to a lot of conventional funerals and decided that this type funeral was not what he wanted for himself, thus, choosing to make his funeral a personal statement and more a celebration of his life. This is the trend that seemed to emerge after the company created that first aeroplane fuselage coffin followed by a commission for a pearlescent coffin for the late British TV personality Paula Yates.

Dance forever in a ballet slipper coffin. c. Vic Fearn & Company.

“I don’t think there is anything we can’t make,” says Crampton “the customers are the designers: we just make what they ask. We say to people, ‘There’s a choice in that final decision’.”


Crazy Coffins

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