She will succeed retiring chairman Harvey Thomas CBE, who has served in the role for 10 years, on 3 July 2019.
The formal change over will take place in the Southampton Ageas Hilton Hotel at the conclusion of the Annual Conference (CBCE), jointly hosted by the Cremation Society and the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.
Grainger is a graduate of Leeds University and recently retired as dean of Academic Strategy at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She remains a professor of Architectural History at the University and is an honorary professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.
A specialist in late 19th and early 20th Century English domestic architecture, she is the leading authority on the architecture of British Crematoria and on the late Victorian architect Sir Ernest George.
She has published and lectured widely in Europe and America and her pioneering book, Death Redesigned: British Crematoria, History, Architecture and Landscape, published in 2006, received a commendation from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals as an outstanding reference book.
Grainger is co-author of Cremation in Modern Scotland: History, Architecture and the Law and is A Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Institutional Reviewer of English and Scottish Universities. She is president of the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS) and chairs the Fabric Advisory Committee of Lichfield Cathedral. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List for Services to Higher Education.
She has been a member of the Cremation Society’s Council since 2008.
Retiring chairman, Harvey Thomas CBE, said: “I am delighted that Hilary has been elected Chair of the Society. She has made many strategic contributions since she joined the council in 2008 and she has an extraordinary knowledge of UK cremation and crematoria, which will be invaluable as she leads the society forward.”
The Cremation Society, a registered charity, was established in 1874 and has been the pioneer of cremation and best practice in Great Britain. It established the first crematorium in the country at Woking in 1885 and the first crematorium in London at Golders Green in 1902.
Lord de Mauley is honorary president of the Cremation Society which today, in cooperation with the International Cremation Federation (ICF) continues to lead the cremation movement through research; encouraging best practice; government liaison; collating statistical data; co-hosting the annual Cremation and Burial Communication and Education event and producing Pharos International – the official quarterly Journal of the Cremation Society and the ICF.