Based in St. John’s Street, Woodbridge, Suffolk, E.B. Button & Sons Ltd. Funeral Directors is one of the town’s oldest businesses, having been established over 135 years ago.
While original records go back to 1875, the Suffolk Directory lists the business as being in operation in Castle Street as far back as 1864. At this time it was run by George Thurman (1812-1886), who married Eliza Bardwell, and later their son Edward Bardwell Thurman (1845-1920).
At this time the business was split between funeral directing and general building, carpentry and joinery. The company made its own coffins, either from elm or, for the more affluent, oak. This practice continued well into the 1980s.
The present name, E.B. Button & Sons, is taken from Edward Bardwell Button (1875-1958), Edward Thurman’s nephew, who took over the business in 1920.
The company continued to split its activities, carrying out numerous repairs and refurbishments throughout Woodbridge and even building new bungalows just after the war.
In 1948 Edward’s two sons, Edward ‘Teddy’ Button and Douglas Thurman Button, formed a partnership with their father, running the business together.
Edward Button senior was a very forward-thinking man, and E.B. Button & Sons became one of the first undertakers to invest in the alternative combustion engine. Traditionally, transport of the deceased at their funeral was by horse-drawn hearse, but in the late 1940s, E.B. Button & Sons invested in a 1931 gate change Austin, the company’s first motor hearse. Today, the company’s fleet includes a Vauxhall Omega hearse and matching limousine.
When Teddy and Douglas Button retired in 1979, Derek Moore – who joined the firm in 1956 – became a director, together with his wife Janet. They were joined at the company by their older son Colin in 1984.
In the late 1990s, their daughter Kate Eagle and their younger son Stephen joined the company, allowing Janet and Derek to retire in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
Today, Colin, Stephen and Kate are joined by assistant funeral directors David Bloomfield and Ron Bossingham, with the company remaining independent and family-run, just as it was in the 1800s.