Saturday, 1 August 2015

H G Dunn and Sons Funeral vehicles

The first funeral account records that indicate that the Dunns owned their own horsedrawn hearse is contained in accounts before 1830. Hearses were by tradition long lived vehicles as they travelled at low speeds. The Dunns organised "long distance" funerals to several counties in this era with week long journeys recorded to Suffolk.
It seems likely that Herbert George Dunn on taking over the trade in Bromley Kent in the 1870's modernised the horse drawn hearse and this vehicle survived well in to the Twentieth Century as the images date from circa 1930.

The motor hearse first appeared on London Streets from around 1906 and was at first used for conveying coffins in a closed compartment. The Dunn funeral accounts indicate an increasing need for conveyance from Barming (Kent County Asylum) London hospitals and residences for burial at Bromley and surrounding parishes and for increasing demand for cremation at Golders Green Crematorium. The accounts also reflect conveyance to the Necropolis Company rail link at Waterloo. There was also an increasing need for collection from The Infirmary at Locksbottom The Bromley Cottage Hospital and Lady Margaret's Hospital in Bromley as well as various nursing homes in the district and Herbert George acquired a motor hearse. The image above appears to be collection from Bromley Cottage Hospital and is undated. The vehicle is estimated to be circa 1920;the image may have been taken circa 1930.
The accounts indicate continued use of the horse drawn hearse well into the twentieth century.
In this image Herbert George Dunn is directing 6 bearers carrying in the words of funeral accounts "a stout oak panelled coffin raised lid". I believe the brass ringed handles are visible on the coffin and am trying to match them with designs of manufacturers contained in surviving travelling representatives pattern books.
Images Courtesy of Bromley Local Studies and Archives are found in a catalogued box of miscellaneous images of the Company.