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The British Funeral Service

In the first half of the 20th century funeral directors, or undertakers as they were more commonly known, were to be found almost on every street corner in the larger towns and cities, undertaking duties which were ancillary to other business activities, such as joinering or building. In the late fifties a significant change occurred: chapels of rest were being introduced by more and more funeral firms and relatives no longer had to have the coffin brought into the home or kept at the hospital until the day of the funeral. By the sixties the multitude of urban undertakers was dwindling rapidly, due mainly to the proprietors reaching retirement age with no children to take their businesses and, therefore, no inclination to spend capital on providing chapels of rest. Many other firms continued their joinering work but abandoned the role of undertaker

1 January 2000

In the Beginning

In the first half of the 20th century funeral directors, or undertakers as they were more commonly known, were to be found almost on every street corner in the larger towns and cities, undertaking duties which were ancillary to other business activities, such as joinering or building. In the late fifties a significant change occurred: chapels of rest were being introduced by more and more funeral firms and relatives no longer had to have the coffin brought into the home or kept at the hospital until the day of the funeral. By the sixties the multitude of urban undertakers was dwindling rapidly, due mainly to the proprietors reaching retirement age with no children to take their businesses and, therefore, no inclination to spend capital on pro...

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