Our history

Photos and easel

William Purves, the founder of our family run firm, was born in the Borders. He started his career as a joiner and set off for a new life in New Zealand. He got as far as Edinburgh. Obviously he fell in love with the place because he set up shop here. By the end of the 19th Century William Purves and his ten joiners undertook the tasks of cabinet making, french polishing, upholstering… and undertaking

In the early 1900s, his son William (or Willie as everyone knew him) became the second generation to carry on the family business, opening a funeral office in Marchmont Road. Willie was obviously a fortunate man because, due to his mother’s illness, he was given permission to leave the front in WW1 and come home. On his return to the front he learned that the rest of his regiment, The Scots Greys Cavalry, had all been killed.

And so we come to the third generation of the Purves family to join the business. John (or Jack as he was known) was a time served joiner and worked alongside his father until Willie died in 1962. In the late 60s Jack finally retired the joinery side of the company and the family concentrated solely on the funeral business. Soon afterwards they opened a funeral office with rest rooms and a service chapel to seat 50. They purchased their first hearse (an Austin 3 litre) and their first funeral cars (Daimlers).

Jack had 5 children and fostered many more. His son, John, became the fourth generation of Purves to join the company, in 1973, taking over when his father passed away in 1975.

purvespremises.jpg
Our original premises, then in the 1960s, and in the 1980s

John set about growing the business together with his brother-law, Graeme Brown.

From the early 80s onwards William Purves Funeral Directors opened more of their own offices throughout Edinburgh and The Lothians and purchased other Funeral Directors both in Scotland and the North of England.

Graeme retired in 2009 and John in 2014.

Today, Tim Purves, who is the fifth generation of the Purves family to run the business, is Chairman of William Purves Funeral Directors. James Morris is the Managing Director who along with Tim and fellow company directors Roger Pagan, Andrew Purves and Colin Brown oversee the business.

As you will have gathered the business is very much family run. Today, as well as Tim, there are five great, great grandchildren of the founder, currently working for William Purves Funeral Directors.

The five generations share many things in common and one thing in particular: the Christian Faith has always been a very important part of the company ethos.

Our core values are; To everyone, in everything;
COMPASSION, DEDICATION, INTEGRITY AND RESPECT.

Pics-PurvesTwo-004 (resized).jpg

Keith Thomson, Andrew Purves, Tim Purves, Paul Brown, Sharon Hook and Ben Thomson

Website by 39steps