Dottridge Brothers was arguably the most important firm of funeral wholesalers in the UK from the mid 19th century to the 1950s. The company supplied undertakers with coffins, handles, wheel biers, embalming fluids and equipment, vehicles and many other accoutrements.
The company was founded in 1835 by Samuel Dottridge. He formerly owned a builders’ and contractors’ business in Hoxton, London, but would arrange funerals for friends as a sideline. This side of the business increased and having obtained new premises called Dorset Works, an old coaching yard, he established the company of Dottridges.
In 1855 Samuel was joined in the company by his eldest son, (also called Samuel) and later by his other sons, Edwin, William and Henry. When Samuel retired, the four brothers became partners and the firm was incorporated as Dottridge Brothers Ltd.
The business gradually expanded, going into wholesale trading, eventually dropping retail trading altogether. The company acquired a timber yard and woodworking mill. Stores and agencies were set up abroad. In 1913 the company employed around 320 people, owned 115 horses and three motor hearses.
During 1983 the last Dottridge family member had withdrawn from the business, thus ending 150 years of family control. By this stage the company had 200 employees and 30 funeral directing businesses in London, East Anglia and the South East.
In 1988 Dottridge Brothers Ltd. was purchased by Kenyon Securities plc., now owned by Service Corporation International.