At the age of 21, Henry Claude Townsend completed a 7 year apprenticeship, and was offered 3d an hour extra pay by his employer. However, his father, Joseph Henry, felt that he was undervalued for such a talented young craftsman, and so encouraged Henry Claude to set up his own joinery business. Coffin manufacturing and funerals soon became part of the work, and H.C.Townsend was formed in 1927.
Kenneth Brian, only child of Claude and Beatrice (Kitty), joined the business on completion of his education at Harrogate Grammar School in 1952.
The business flourished and Cundalls Funeral Directors was acquired in the late 1970s.
Henry Claude Townsend
Joinery Workshop 1950s
Brian, Henry Claude and David Townsend
David and Alex Townsend
In 1981, David, eldest son of Brian and Mary, joined the business and at the age of just 17, carried out his first funerals.
In October 2004, Brian and Mary retired and handed the reins to David and his wife, Ann. In October 2005, they acquired Backhouse of Hunsingore, Funeral Directors.
In 2007, building works began to transform the old joinery workshops into a refurbished Chapel of Rest, modern mortuary and new garaging to accommodate the business’s first fleet of vehicles.
In 2014, Alex began working for the company at the age of 15, and has continued to do so throughout studies at Harrogate Grammar School and Nottingham Trent University before graduating in July 2019. Alex conducted his first funeral for the business in late October 2019.