Our company was founded in 1881 by Alfred Crawford Smith, a hatbox maker of Southwark, who, after losing one of his children, decided that he could better the services of other local undertakers. He was as good as his word, for by the time of his death in 1933 at the age of seventy five, his company was certainly the most renowned funeral directors in South London and was especially noted for its Dutch bred, Friesian horses, which were completely black. When all funerals were horse drawn, an average of forty stallions and geldings were stabled at the firm’s yard in Newington Crescent, Kennington and from our offices, we conducted funerals at cemeteries and crematoria in all parts of London.
During their long married life, Alfred and Caroline had twenty two children. However of his six sons, only two survived him in the business, Alfred and Henry. Under their control, the company further became a landmark in the Southwark area at Southwark Bridge Road; in Lambeth at Lambeth Walk and in Carshalton at Wrythe Lane. Alfred and Henry were in turn followed by their sons Alfred, Henry and George. Alfred worked from our premises in Southwark Bridge Road, whilst Henry and George worked from Lambeth Walk. After the Second World War, Henry and his younger brother, George developed the memorial side of the business, in the mews behind the Lambeth Walk premises. This heralded a period of change and they were one of the first monumental masons in London to begin importing marble from Italy again, and witnessed the transition from horses to motors.
In 1934, when the St Helier estate was first built, the company took premises at 101, Wrythe Lane, moving to our present location at 304, Wrythe Lane in 1939. The business at Carshalton was initially run by Harry, the son of Alfred Junior. He was succeeded by his son Tony until his retirement in 1996. We took over our Streatham Vale office in 1978 and opened the Carshalton office in 1993 and our Stoneleigh Branch in 2013. We now operate from Carshalton, Stoneleigh, & Streatham Vale with our Head Office in Rosehill Carshalton, near St Helier Hospital.
We are proud to say that the company now in it's 134th year is still owned by the founders Great Grandson & his family, maintaining the personal and traditional service for which we have long been known.
If you would like to find out more about our family business or you need some advice about planning a funeral, please do not hesitate to contact us.