Levertons since 1789
Leases dating from 1789 show John Leverton of Henry Street (click to view map dated 1799) buying land and selling the houses he built on them. At this time, funeral work was conducted by local carpenters “undertaking” to make the coffins and transport the body. Leverton and Sons Ltd has been a family owned company of funeral directors based within the St Pancras area of London for two hundred and twenty years.
In 1763, John Leverton was baptised in the village of Meeth, Devon. One day he packed his bags and in 1789 he made the long journey to London to set up business as a carpenter. Coming from a Devonshire village, eighteenth century London must have seemed a vast place.
Initially, coffin-making would have represented only a small part of the work which employed John all those years ago, but as the area became more densely populated, the funeral side of his work expanded at such a rate that it soon dominated the business.
In the fourth generation of Leverton funeral directors, Henry John (1859-1935) was the eldest son. He moved our business premises to Eversholt Street in 1888. Our head office is in the same street today. His son Stanley (1883-1963) became a partner in 1909 and was later joined by his own sons: Derrick, Ivor and Basil. The seventh generation is represented by Ivor’s sons, Keith (now retired) and Clive. Our Head Office is in Eversholt Street where cousins Pippa and Andrew are based.
As children, Keith and Clive assumed that all houses had the phone ringing in the middle of the night and that everyone’s dads abandoned half-eaten evening meals on a regular basis. Funeral directing as a family trade is unusual because the business affects the lives of your nearest and dearest at all hours of the day. So, as children, the Levertons were always aware that the people on the other end of the telephone had to be treated with great care. This is without doubt where our training began.
Keith recalls meeting the school careers officer for the first time. The man had spent most of his day advising boys that they may not necessarily be selected for Arsenal and trying to convince them that perhaps a back-up plan might be a good idea. Keith sat down and firmly said ‘I want to be a funeral director’. The careers adviser was speechless for some time. Whether it was relief or disbelief, we’ll never know.
Modern communications have made our work much easier. The 24 hour nature of funeral directing can now be shared among several people as opposed to being the job of those who live above a Levertons branch. In the early days, it was the doorbell. Most people died at home 50 years ago and when that happened, we were around the corner - the first port of call for a family in distress.
Download a pdf of an article Basil Leverton wrote for the Camden Historical Society back in 1982 which gives more information about the History.