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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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How to choose the right music for a funeral

Tunes, hymns, melodies and songs are considered essential elements of a funeral. Here's our five top tips to hit the right note for you and your loved ones. With over five generations of experience in arranging funerals, one truth prevails at William Purves and this...

To absent friends this holiday

To absent friends at Christmas As we approach the end of 2021, James Morris, our Managing Director reflects on this time of year. Our memories are such a powerful thing, aren’t they?  Every day I do this job, I see how precious every single memory is of someone loved...

Many Flags. One Standard.

2020 was unprecedented in our lifetime as funeral directors especially in the field of repatriation where we offer particular expertise. As a new normal for 2021 is emerging, our section on repatriation contains useful information for anyone having to repatriation to,...