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John Heath & Sons Funeral Directors

Black and white photograph of a funeral procession
A funeral procession in Burngreave, undated © Picture Sheffield, Sheffield Libraries

This is probably the oldest family business in Burngreave. John Heath was born in 1835 and worked for many years as a carriage maker, cabinet maker and undertaker before he set up his own business on Earsham Street in 1880. Six generations of Heaths have since run the business. Adam Heath said "We've been doing it for 127 years so I think we're getting the hang of it now! The only real change has been the introduction of motorised transport, we used to have our own horses and stables. But when the motor car came along, we began to build car bodies as well as coffins and even had our own fleet of taxis for a while. However we still make all the coffins on the premises in the traditional manner. They are not ready made but specific to each person and we still polish them with beeswax. We do stock some more modern forms such as cardboard or wicker coffins but mostly we make proper wooden ones from English timber. And we have retained the black and green livery for our cars and chauffeurs."

The current building on Earsham Street is actually not the original one, although it has been built in the same location in 1927 and renovated in the 1950's.