A Blackpool company has marked 100 years of laying the resort’s residents to rest by investing £425,000 in a new fleet of hearses.
Box Bros, which opened up in South Shore’s Hawes Side Lane in 1915, welcomed the mayor and mayoress Peter and Maxine Callow for its centenary celebrations.
The pair were shown the undertaker’s new fleet of sleek black hearses and limousines before toasting the firm’s century of success with champagne.
The company was founded by Thomas Edwin Box after he moved to Blackpool from Yorkshire.
He bought the depot of well-known local company S&J Woods Ltd, which ran Seagull Coaches, and began to serve the resort and surrounding area.
His son Alec joined the business after leaving the Army in 1918 and his grandson Trevor joined the family firm in 1947.
Despite turning 84 in August, Trevor, of Arnott Road, South Shore still has a say in the day-to-day running of Box Bros, which also has a branch in Station Road, Poulton.
Company director Stephen Box, the great-grandson of Thomas and the son of Trevor, said: “I’m proud, and I’m also proud to be investing in new vehicles.
“We put some of the new vehicles on the forecourt and the mayor and mayoress had some champagne.
“We are still a strong, independent funeral director and a carriage master.”
The company has a proud history of revolutionising the industry, having been one of the first funeral directors to introduce purpose-built private ambulances in the 1940’s.
“It is now an essential part of any company’s transport,” Stephen said.
As well as taking care of business in Blackpool, the historic firm has grown its reputation as a global company.
Stephen said Box Bros is often hired for repatriations or for their expertise in dealing with the British consulate.
He said: “The company is acknowledged to be one of the most knowledgeable funeral services offering repatriations worldwide.”
After becoming the fourth generation of Box to join the family firm, Stephen, 52, brought with him a knowledge of modern technology and embalming methods.
It was after his involvement began, in 1984, the company’s Poulton branch opened.
It remains the only chapel of repose in town.