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Stinking Rich

Posted by Lilyanne Clark on July 25, 2008 at 20:43

Regarding the meaning of "Stinking Rich":
During a guided tour through East London, we were told that the phrase "stinking rich" had to do with the fact that people used to be afraid of being buried alive. Rich people could afford to have their coffins placed above the ground in an elaborate marble or granite tomb -- just in case the dead people "came back to life" they would not be under the ground. (Maybe they could "call out for help".)

There would be a smell coming through this above-the-ground coffin as the body decomposed. The term stinking rich came from this type of buriel as only the rich could afford to be buried above the ground.. (I think that this was in Aldergate Cemetery that we saw all of the above ground coffins.) I forget the correct spelling of the cemetery. Our tour was the "Sinister London Night Tour" and it was fantastic!