William Purves History

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 20 William Purves branches with an additional 5 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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Inside the Undertakers – come on in

The BBC’s documentary “Inside the Undertakers” with Stacey Dooley last Autumn was the latest behind-the-scenes programme to explore the funeral sector.  Early on, Dooley confesses her fears surrounding death and sets out to confront the many myths and taboos...

Why you can trust us to care

Every funeral is different.  And that truth also applies to funeral directors. We promise to support you, and your loved ones, in arranging a funeral that’s just right and here's why.   Compassion Our staff choose to do this job because we care deeply about families....

Leaving a (responsible) lasting legacy

Typically, memorial stones are found in UK cemeteries, church graveyards or sites of historic significance as they mark the spot where people have been buried. However, with cremations now representing over 70% of the UK’s funerals, memorials are increasingly...