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William Purves History

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Family run for five generations

When you place your trust in William Purves you can expect the highest standards of professionalism, compassionate care and a truly distinct service.

1888

William Purves
In 1888, William Purves, a craftsman and cabinet-maker from the Borders, gave his name to the company. He started his career as a joiner and by the end of the 19th Century he and his 10 joiners undertook cabinet making, french polishing, upholstering and … undertaking.

1900s

Willie Purves
By the early 1900’s his son Willie became the second generation to carry on the family business opening a funeral office in Marchmont Road.

1962

John Purves
John (or Jack as he was known) was a time-served joiner who worked alongside his father Willie until he died in 1962. John retired the joinery side of the company and opened a funeral office with rest rooms, a service chapel and bought the first hearse (an Austin 3 litre) and Daimler funeral cars.

1975

John and Graeme
Jack had 5 children and fostered many more. His son John, became the fourth generation of Purves to join the company, taking over when his father passed away in 1975. John worked with his brother-in-law Graeme Brown to open more William Purves offices throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Today

The Company has 21 William Purves branches with an additional 7 funeral director brands and one stonemason under its banner. The company currently employs around 100 people across Scotland and North East England.

Latest Posts

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Planning Ahead to Mark 2021 Dying Matters Week

As published in the Edinburgh Evening News 10 May 2021, Andrew Purves encourages people to start a conversation about death and dying with loved ones, make some decisions, so they will have the best plan in place before they die. If Covid‐19 has taught us anything, it...

Reflections of a funeral director

Time waits for no man and this month I celebrate reaching the milestone of sixty years. Is that possible, already? Over half of, what seems a very brief lifetime, I have been a Funeral Director. Over thirty years, in a profession where traditions are so jealously...

Choosing the right coffin

Comparing the last 12 months to the year before, we have seen a shift towards funeral events that were highly personal. A key element of the uniqueness was often the coffin. At the heart of a funeral, it’s the recognisable stand-out moment. This is especially true at...