Edinburgh City Council has launched a virtual 3D tour of a crematorium to ‘demystify’ the cremation process.

Grieving relatives will be able to look around Grade A-listed Mortonhall Crematorium, which was designed by renowned architect Sir Basil Spence and opened in 1967.

They will be able to tour the arrival area, the main chapel, the Pentland Chapel, the Chapel of Remembrance, the waiting room, family room and the crematory after the building was virtualised by tech firm Captured Realities.

Many may not wish to know more, but ‘for the curious’ the tour ends in the area where cremations take place, the council said in a release.

Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “I know from firsthand experience how daunting an experience it is for bereaved families making funeral arrangements. This pioneering new feature at Mortonhall Crematorium has been welcomed by city funeral directors as a way of ‘demystifying’ the process and I’m sure families will find it very helpful to take the virtual tour when they’re planning their loved one’s final send-off.”  

Robert Swanson QPM, Scottish Government Inspector of Cremations, said: “‘This innovative production provides an excellent unrestricted insight into public and private areas of Mortonhall Crematorium. I consider it will be of particular benefit to bereaved families who have never before been to the Crematorium, by knowing in advance what to expect. I welcome all such measures taken by Cremation Authorities which are designed to help reduce the level of stress and apprehension of the bereaved during their attendance at the Crematorium.”

Gail Rickets, Proprietor of Captured Realities, said: “It was a pleasure to work with the team at Mortonhall Crematorium to create a 3D Virtual Tour for these Grade A-listed buildings. This ensures the chapels are now accessible for a global audience to explore and admire, as well as providing local users with a visual representation of the facilities available at the Crematorium.”

Professor Hilary J Grainger OBE, Professor of Architectural History at University of the Arts London and author of Death Redesigned: British Crematoria – History, Architecture and Landscape, said: “Mortonhall, by Sir Basil Spence, not only represents one of the finest crematorium designs in Europe, but also the place where many people in Edinburgh choose to pay their respects to their dead. This excellent resource, showing the newly refurbished facilities, will be of great interest to a wide audience, but particularly those planning a funeral who wish to familiarise themselves with the building.”

The Council has also commissioned virtual tours of Mortonhall and Craigmillar Castle Park Cemeteries, which are currently in development.