How far we’ve come
To contemplate how much businesses have evolved in the last 150 years – yet essentially how our needs as a community have remained the same – look no further than the Yates family who have been in business since 1870 now trading as F. Upson & Son Potters Bar and Finest Funerals Enfield. Being one of the oldest, independent funeral directors in the North London area, the business is now run by 5th and 6th generations of the same family, who continue to uphold the strong heritage of their past whilst serving the community in a contemporary way.
From surgical bootmakers to undertakers
Yates started as surgical bootmakers and acted as local undertakers. They opened their first funeral home, H. Yates & Son, in Salmon Lane, East London, in 1870. In September 1878, SS Princess Alice, carrying hundreds of Londoners returning home from a trip to the seaside, sank in the River Thames after a collision with a huge collier. About 650 lives were lost; H. Yates & Son was one of the many undertakers tasked in recovering bodies. In 1910, Yates closed their Salmon Lane office and relocated to North London where they opened offices in Edmonton, Wood Green, Chingford, and Walthamstow. In 1948, they acquired Tottenham based F. Upson & Son where they remained for some 70 years.
Saying goodbye to Tottenham High Road and a building full of memories
Over the decades business flourished, outgrowing the Tottenham premises, and increasing the need to move to bigger premises. In July 2018, after some 70 years, amidst great emotional and physical upheaval, the company finally moved. It was a sad day closing the Tottenham doors for the last time; many families have walked through those doors and it is their past business, loyalty and support which has made this business a trusted and well-respected name in the funeral trade.
Where the historical merges with the 21st century …
For not only has Yates celebrated 150 years of business in 2020, they also bring innovation to their funeral homes, replacing the usual dark, sombre décor, with open, brighter and more inviting surroundings where families can feel at home.
Finest Funerals Enfield
The Enfield branch was launched in 2014. Contemporary in approach, a large shop window with a spacious reception is dressed seasonally. At Easter, hundreds of fresh daffodils are on display with Easter eggs nestled in-between for the children. For Remembrance Day, thousands of red poppies are strewn across the reception floor honouring the immeasurable sacrifice of the Fallen. The chapel is modern, offers a peaceful and serene ambience for viewing and funeral services of all faiths, recently including Hindu and Buddhist.
F. Upson Potters Bar
The new Potters Bar branch was opened in mid 2019 with the aim of becoming a significant social hub for the local community, providing elegance and comfort for visitors. A warm reception is home to a stunning display of leather-bound ledgers holding hand-written details of every ‘Yates’ funeral dating back to 1910. A large canvas showing off the old Tottenham shop hangs proudly on the wall, along with numerous images of the past, each of which tell a story. Potters Bar chapel is traditional and incorporates the irreplaceable and beautiful 100-year-old stained glass windows extracted from Tottenham shop.