Clutterbuck, Funeral Directors

The website of L.W. Clutterbuck has a history of the family business.
In 1820 Frederick Clutterbuck (I) was a local blacksmith / builder / carpenter in Eastington, Stonehouse, Glos, who was also the local undertaker, mostly because of the nature of the business and was connected to people who owned horses, and could build coffins. He worked from premises on the Bath Road in Eastington, down the road from the Bath Road Garage, opposite the turning for Middle Street, but it has since been extended and changed.

Funerals at this time were local affairs. The coffin would be left in the home before the funeral at church, when it would be transported to church possibly by horse. Those who could not afford to hire a horse would have to carry it or wheel it on a bier.

This business passed through the generations, first to his son, Frederick (II). However, his [Frederick (II)] son, Wilfred was not interested in the family business, being more interested in trucks as a result of the war and therefore did not play a significant role in the funeral business. Therefore, the business passed to Frederick (II)’s grandson, Leslie Wilfred Clutterbuck where the business gets it’s name from today: L.W. Clutterbuck.

Leslie built up an impressive business as a builder and carpenter as well as undertaker. He had vehicles and equipment for building and was highly skilled. He also made many magnificent inventions for use throughout the business, some of which are still in use today.

At the same time, Lionel Workman, a local builder and funeral director operated in the area of Cam and Dursley. Leslie used to hire vehicles (including the bier) from Lionel for his business in Eastington. Lionel operated from and lived at premises in Chapel Street next to the Cottage Bakery, and stored a hearse at a garage at 26 High Street. When Lionel was taken ill in later life, he had no heir to naturally inherit the business or take over from him , and his only employee was not willing to take on the responsibility of running the business, and he therefore offered it to Leslie, having built up a professional relationship with him over the years. Leslie bought the business in 1958 and added to his business in Eastington by operating in both areas. In Eastington Leslie operated from Eastington where the building supplies were kept, and a hardware shop began to evolve at the premises at 26 High Street, Cam where the hearse was kept. His son, Kenneth joined the family business immediately after leaving school at 16, and moved to Cam to oversee operations there.

In 1959/60 Leslie was forced to relinquish the Eastington property and so additional premises were sought for storage and 17 High Street, a former slaughterhouse, was rented, and the necessary alterations made for this purpose. Such was Leslie’s skill, especially as a builder, that he made many alterations to the building himself, along with Ken and staff.

In 1975 Leslie retired and the business was transferred to Ken whom assumed full control continuing to build on the existing customer base. All the time, Cam and the surrounding villages were expanding and the average number of funerals conducted also increased. Therefore part of the store at 17 High Street was converted into a chapel of rest and although Leslie had officially he retired he helped convert it for this purpose. Also, the number, and types, of vehicles changed. Limousines were required, and so the family moved to Woodened Lane where 4 garages meant that all the vehicles could be stored safely. The space that was occupied by the hearse at the hardware shop now meant that the stock could be expanded.

No. 26 High Street was between the Cam Memorial Hall (no. 28) and a residential house (no. 24). Ken got to know the lady that lived there over the years. On the property was a garage of timber construction. Having built up a relationship with the neighbour Ken was allowed to park a Peugeot 505 in the garage. When the lady died Ken was quick to cease the opportunity of an offer of first refusal and purchased the house. This house was then completely redeveloped into a more substantial hardware shop, office, interview room, workshop and store, with ample parking and a single, brick-built, garage. At the same time Ken bought the freehold to the property at 17 High Street.

Ken retired in April 2001 after 40 years of working in the business, whereupon, the business became the ownership of his wife, Lynn and son, Jeremy. Lynn had always been a partner in the business and played an active role in some parts of it. After university Jeremy had been a civil service working in the defence sector as a decision consultant. The existing staff, a crucial part of the running and reputation of the business, stayed on. At around the same time Lynn’s second husband, Bob, took early retirement from his job in the Nuclear power industry and was able to play a major role in the business.

Woodend Lane was no longer available for garaging the fleet of vehicles (Hearse, Limousine, Estate car and Van) and so temporary garaging was found whilst an extension to the existing garage at 24-26 High Street was built to accommodate the whole fleet. A significant number of other investments were made to the business including introducing Information Technology to the office and overhauling the rapidly deteriorating hearse and limousine.

Because of the skills of Jeremy and Bob, the business took on a new consultancy dimension with both being able to sell their services back to their original employers. This also played a major role in the survival of the business by enabling the investment work to be funded without any outside financial assistance. At the same time they both enrolled in the Diploma in Funeral Directing, run by the National Association of Funeral Directors, not currently a requirement by law.

In April 2002 the business became a limited company with a view to transferring the business to the sole ownership of Jeremy. Future plans also include the modernisation of mortuary facilities, achieving Investors in People recognition and the introduction of new services. In June 2002, Jeremy and Bob passed the Foundation Module of the DipFD, and have moved on to the main part of the diploma.
Unrelated to Jeremy Clutterbuck—or maybe related somehow—is one David Clutterbuck in Toronto, Canada, who is a licensed funeral director in the Province of Ontario. Dave's a Pathologist's Assistant in the Office of the Chief Coroner for the Province of Ontario, where he assists with forensic autopsies.


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