Back to Top

Richard Steel & Partners

Richard Steel & Partners.jpg
Alderman House, 12 – 14 City Road, Winchester SO23 8SD, United Kingdom
Chesil House, 4, Chesil Street, Winchester SO23 0HU
12-14 City Road Winchester England SO23 8SD GB

Iain Steel, his father Richard and co-director Mark Allery are the three directors of the company and are all actively involved with funerals (after 55 years with the family firm, Richard’s involvement is less hands on these days, although he will always be available to conduct a funeral for a family who asks specifically for him).

Three other qualified funeral directors, John Barton-Rumbold, Chelsea Duke and David Westbrook also arrange and conduct funerals, as does Russ Taw, the newest recruit who has just sat his exams. Iain insists his funeral directors achieve their Diploma, he thinks it is essential to ensure that families are looked after by people who have been properly trained. Normally, whoever you first speak to will be the person who looks after you throughout your involvement with Steels – this principle of continuity is something Iain considers fundamental.

Born into a family of funeral directors, Iain knew from the age of five that he wanted to be a funeral director like his grandfather and his father – well, he has always told everyone that he was five but his mother recently corrected him and said he was just three years old when he first announced his intention. Nothing made him change his mind, and after going to work for another company in his late teens and gaining his Diploma, he returned to join the family business aged 20, becoming the fourth generation to be involved.

The Steel family are well known in Winchester – they have been carrying out funerals for the people of the town since 1860, and Iain’s grandfather, Stanley was twice elected Mayor of Winchester, serving on the City Council for 25 years. It was Stanley who steered the former builders and undertakers of his uncle’s day in the direction of specialising in funeral directing, and he was joined in 1962 by his son Richard.

Over the decades Richard has held several prestigious roles in the community, chairing the Trustees of St. Johns Winchester Charity and the Winchester Working Men’s Housing Society. Formerly President of St. John Ambulance and the Winchester Operatic Society, he is also a Patron of the Theatre Royal.

Iain shares his father’s love of singing and acting and has appeared in several local societies. Vice Chair of the Board of the Theatre Royal and President of St. John Ambulance, he has also been actively involved in the National Association of Funeral Directors for many years, acting as an Examiner for almost two decades, and is currently European Group Secretary for Selected Independent Funeral Homes.

This solid involvement in the community that they serve is instinctive to the Steels, it’s as much a part of their lives as their work. In fact, being part of the community and serving members of the community when they have been bereaved is one and the same thing to Iain. He is the epitome of someone who is what he does, the business of being a funeral director is in his DNA.

Personable and friendly with an instantly reassuring manner, Iain’s love for his role is apparent. He is at his happiest working with families, helping them achieve exactly the funeral that they want. His years of experience enable him to make suggestions and offer advice so that every funeral carried out is bespoke, shaped exactly as the family want. Whether you want the simplest or most elaborate ceremony and whatever budget you are working to, Iain will make sure you receive the same personal quality service, whether from him or from one of his colleagues.

Mark Allery joined Richard and Iain over 16 years ago, from a previous career as a senior management in the retail sector. He brought with him a dedication to customer service, and a fresh pair of eyes. The question ‘Why do we do that?’ is an immensely valuable one, and the answer “Because we always have’ isn’t acceptable; undoubtedly, Mark’s questioning, together with Iain’s determination to be the best they possibly can be, has helped to make this long-established company as modern and up to date as any we’ve come across.

The premises at Alderman House, named in memory of Stanley Steel, are the second Steel presence in the town. The original premises at Chesil House are home to Steel’s beautiful Garden of Remembrance and St. Mary’s Service Chapel. The main business has been based at Alderman House since 2004, and was purpose designed, mostly by drawing on the floor to indicate where walls needed to go (originally it had been a car showroom). A portrait of Stanley in his mayoral finery looks over the large reception area, and there are two spacious private arranging rooms with plush sofas and coffee tables. The Diploma certificates gained by the staff are proudly displayed on the wall, and behind the curved reception desk, a door opens on to the general office, where Iain, Mark and all the funeral directors and support staff work in the same space. ‘It’s important that we can all hear what we are all doing,” says Iain, “Everyone knows what is going on all of the time.”

The chapel of rest is to the left of the reception area. Designed with a lounge waiting area so that families visiting a relative have some privacy, the room is divided by a folding wall that enables it to be adapted according to requirements. Behind the chapel of rest is a large chilled mortuary area. There are no fridges here, the entire room is kept cool. People who have died are placed on trays until their coffin is ready, then they will be placed in the coffin until the day of the funeral.

Beautifully decorated and furnished throughout, this family business clearly believes in investing in quality and comfort for their clients and has spent a deal of money on making sure their premises are just right. This is a classy establishment that has been thoughtfully planned and laid out, with every detail carefully considered.

Behind Alderman House, and over a road, a second building houses the workshop and garages. This is where coffins are delivered and stored, and fitted and lined to order. They are then placed in a car and driven 20 yards or so to deliver them to the main building. Iain will not allow the coffins to be transported any other way.

Chesil House has a similar feeling of quality to Alderman House, but it is about to undergo a huge refurbishment, something that is no mean feat in a listed building. At the moment, there is capacity for around 50 people to attend a ceremony in the existing St. Mary’s Chapel, but as the types of funerals that people want are changing, Iain and Mark are keen to provide the best possible venue to offer clients more choice.

The plans are to provide a 100-seat chapel, with state of the art audio-visual capabilities, and reception / kitchen facilities which will provide families with the choice of holding a complete ceremony and a reception for their guests in the heart of Winchester, providing a continuity of care for those who choose it.  At the moment there is capacity for around 50 people to attend a ceremony in the existing St. Mary’s Chapel at Chesil House.

The new facilities will provide complete flexibility, for example a family will be able to hold a funeral ceremony on a day and at a time to suit them rather than needing to fit in with a booking at the crematorium, with the coffin going on for a private committal at a later point. The new space will also provide families with additional time without the pressure of being at a busy crematorium. Downstairs, a smaller new chapel with views over the Garden of Remembrance will provide a more intimate space for gatherings where fewer guests are expected.

All being well, the building work will commence in 2017 and the new facilities will be ready in early 2018.

Outside Chesil House, and away from the busy hustle of the town, the pretty gardens offer a place of sanctuary and peace where cremated remains can be buried in a lovingly tended memorial garden close to a running stream. As an alternative to a churchyard or cemetery, the Garden of Remembrance with its hand drawn Book of Remembrance is a tranquil place in the heart of the town, and many families have chosen it as the final resting place for a loved one.

Jenny, a former Verger from the Cathedral, provides a familiar friendly face at Chesil House to greet returning visitors who come to spend time in the peaceful surroundings, and every year an annual Service of Remembrance is held in the garden where anyone is welcome to attend.

 

Specific Gravity

Exceptional quality of personal service. Steels have a high reputation locally and it is clearly well deserved. Their standards are impeccable. Their focus is on delivering the very best, every time, for every family, and the imbued values inherited from the past have been married with a keen eye for any adjustments that can be made to improve their service to you.

One would expect this level of quality to come at a price, but the costs here are fair and reasonable.

What's Important?

Your experience. Little details make all the difference. When Steels staff come to collect someone who has died, they are dressed in smart blue lounge suits rather than undertaker garb of black jacket and striped trousers. They look like human beings rather than strange visitors in unnatural garb. And they use a smart silver MVP, not a van to take the person back to their premises.

Every coffin is lined in such a way that the edges are covered with padded fabric – when visiting a relative in the chapel of rest, you instinctively approach the coffin and put your hand on it – here you will feel soft, comfy material rather than a wooden coffin edge.

They produce their own in house orders of service for you, designed and laid out individually.

And they don’t ask you to pay money in advance. As Iain says, “We’ve been in business for over 150 years and we work on trust. People understand that and respect it.”

What's Different?

The combination of tradition and modernity. The values that have served families of Winchester and the surrounding areas for generations are still upheld, the notion of service and unobtrusive support underpin this business, but are combined with a determination to stay abreast of changes in the way we want our funerals to be.

If you want a direct cremation that’s fine, Steels will do that for you and you can be sure they will do it perfectly. Behind the scenes, they are as professional as when all eyes are on them at a funeral ceremony. There are no corners cut here, ever.

There is also a strong sense of community and responsibility. Local nursing homes regularly send their staff to Steels to participate in their ‘Bereavement – Continuing the Care’ training, where carers learn what happens to a person after they leave their care

Services
  • Your first call will be answered after hours by Iain, Mark, John, David, Bob, Chelsea or Russ. During the day it may be one of the long serving administrative staff, but they will pass you to a funeral director.
  • Home visits – yes if that’s what you want.
  • Same sex person to wash and dress? Yes, just ask.
  • Embalming? Steels are advocates of embalming, they believe it is beneficial to viewing the person who has died, however a family can decline this option.
  • Ethnic specialism? Winchester is not known for its ethnic diversity but Steels will always help any family that comes to them – they may ask for guidance to ensure that a family receives the help that they need that is culturally appropriate.
  • Home arranged funerals – of course. You can have as much advice or assistance as you need.
  • Local celebrants – A few hand-picked excellent local celebrants who they trust completely, otherwise Steels have a very good relationship with local clergy. They will suggest the person they think is right for you.
  • Website – Good, comprehensive website with details of upcoming funerals, online memorials and some prices.
  • Client support – Extremely important. Both Richard and Chelsea are Officers of Winchester Bereavement Support and the company sponsors the charity. A leaflet is included in every client information pack.
  • Money matters – Good value for money. If you have a tight budget, tell them. They will tailor the funeral to suit you.
  • Parking – Parking on the forecourt at Alderman House. At Chesil House there is a Pay and Display car park over the road.
Remarks

Steels is a rare thing in the funeral world, a business that is so well established and highly thought of locally that other funeral directors don’t bother attempting to open a branch in competition with them.

Having spent a day with them, we can see why. Their standards are extremely high, they have invested heavily in continually improving the service they offer, and they are extraordinarily nice people. The people of Winchester are fortunate to have Steels at their service.

 

Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.

Richard Steel & Partners.jpg 4 weeks ago
Showing 1 result
Nigel Chamberlain & Partners.jpg
The Gate House, Victoria Road, Bishops Waltham SO32 1DJ 14.25 km
Bob Metcalf MBE and Lucy Guilder, ably assisted by Teresa Curran. Nigel Chamberlain and Partners has been looking after families in Bishops Waltham, the Meon Valley, Wickham, Botley and many villages in the area since 1892. The business is owned by Richard Steel and Partners, a family firm who ha...
GFG 2017 Recommended logo.jpg
122 The Hundred, Romsey, Hants SO51 8BY, United Kingdom 14.98 km
Simon Peace (centre) and his son Michael (right) are at the heart of this family business, ably helped by a small and loyal team of staff. The Peace family came to Romsey in 1966, when Simon was just five years old. His father Peter moved the family into the house at 122, The Hundred where the b...
Heatherley Wood.jpg
Grayshott Road, Grayshott, Headley, East Hampshire GU35 8LA, United Kingdom 36.95 km
Just over the Surrey border in East Hampshire, and within easy reach of South London, Heatherley Wood is a pretty natural burial ground, where graves can be chosen in either the meadow and heathland or beneath mature trees in the woodland area. The mixed woodland site was once part of the Nation...
Nikki Hill.JPG
    Nikki Hill. Warm, friendly and completely un-funereal, Nikki is the creator and owner of Bright-Hill Funerals, and it is Nikki who will answer your phone call, meet with you and your family and help you to create an affordable, meaningful funeral for the person who has died. Nikki w...
Holmes & Family.jpg
20 Fleet Road, Fleet GU51 4QG, United Kingdom 41.89 km
167, North Lane, Aldershot GU12 4SY 44.96 km
388 Yorktown Road, College Town, Sandhurst GU47 0PU 48.44 km
01252 628600 (Fleet) 01252 333815 (Aldershot) 01276 37457 (Sandhurst) Oliver and Toby Holmes. Sons of David Holmes (who founded the company and who attends 99% of funerals as a driver / bearer), Ollie and Toby are quite extraordinarily lovely young men. We met Toby only briefly, as he was busy wi...
Amanda Pink_1279.jpg
Berkshire, United Kingdom 45.5 km
Amanda Pink. Or occasionally her husband Adrian. Amanda has taken over Evelyn’s Funerals after the founder, Evelyn Temple, decided to take a backseat and concentrate on celebrancy. Evelyn had worked alongside Amanda and Adrian from Town and Country Funerals Ltd for some time, utilising their mort...
Town & Country Funeral Directors.jpg
155 Guilford Road, West End, Surrey GU24 9LS 55.92 km
Adrian Pink. Or occasionally his wife Amanda. Adrian became a funeral director by chance some 30 years ago in his hometown of Cambridge, and he has spent those three decades soaking up every aspect of funeral directing. He has worked for small co-operative funeral directors and large funeral dire...
Dandelion Farewells.jpg
Church View, Billingshurst Road, Wisborough Green, West Sussex RH14 0DY 57.07 km
Judith Dandy. Winner of the Most Promising New Funeral Director category in the 2016 Good Funeral Awards, Judith has become one of the most highly respected of the new breed of artisan funeral professionals in just three years since she first began researching the world of funerals. Dandelion Far...
Hillier Funeral Service.jpg
170 Victoria Road, Swindon SN1 3DF, United Kingdom 63.29 km
Chapel of Rest The Broadway, Whitworth Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN25 3BL 66.53 km
For a good, well run business there can be real advantages in being around for a long time. Talking to Mark Hillier and his staff, we were conscious of the comfort and confidence that grows out of long experience and of the long established high standards that run through all they do. Hillier’s h...
GFG 2017 Recommended logo.jpg
92 Ermin Street, Stratton St. Margaret, Swindon SN3 4NN, United Kingdom 64.9 km
This is a small but perfectly formed funeral directors with an unusual, welcoming feature: the front door is always open. John Pearce Dip FD, Member of the British Institute of Embalmers, is the owner and funeral director here. He opened the door of Pearce Funeral Services for the first time on M...
Sophie May and Carol Spalding.jpg
Martha’s House, Broadway, Frome, Somerset BA11 3HA 82.21 km
7, Windsor Place, Upper Bristol Road, Bath BA1 3DF 72.91 km
Carol Spalding owns and runs the business jointly with her daughter Sophie May, and they have attracted the very best staff to work alongside them looking after families in Bath, Frome and Saltford. When you meet them, it’s clear to see why Clarkson’s have such an excellent reputation – Carol’s w...
Lucy Coulbert.jpg
c/o 86 Rose Hill, Oxford OX4 4HX 73.9 km
  Lucy Coulbert. Winner of the 2016 Low Cost Funeral Provider of the Year in the 2016 Good Funeral Awards for Coulbert Family Funerals, and joint runner up in the Modern Funeral Director of the Year 2016 category with her main business, The Individual Funeral Company Lucy is a one woman powe...
Lucy Coulbert.jpg
86 Rose Hill, Oxford OX4 4HX, United Kingdom 73.9 km
  Lucy Coulbert. Winner of the 2016 Low Cost Funeral Provider of the Year in the 2016 Good Funeral Awards with her second company, (see below), and joint runner up in the Modern Funeral Director of the Year 2016 category, Lucy is a one woman powerhouse on a mission to improve funeral provisi...
GFG 2017 Recommended logo.jpg
185 Portland Rd, Hove BN3 5QJ, UK 83.2 km
Sussex Funeral Services is owned and managed by Philip Evans and his wife Sallie. Philip is what you might call one of the new wave of funeral directors who has come to this work motivated by a strong vocation. He does not feel bound by tradition and habit, but has fresh eyes and fresh ways. This...
O'Dwyer Funeral Directors.png
137, Little Ealing Lane, Ealing W5 4EJ 84.72 km
O’Dwyer Funeral Directors is a first generation business and proud of it. It belongs to Don O’Dwyer, and it is Don who will look after you and your family, and Don who will care for the person who has died. We visited the premises just two weeks after the doors opened for the first time, and a fe...
Arka-who-we-are-team-photo.jpg
39-41 Surrey Street, Brighton BN1 3PB, United Kingdom 86.5 km
ARKA Original Funerals are undertakers with a difference. One of the pioneers in challenging the traditional, patriarchal rigidity of the funeral industry in early days of this century, ARKA is widely recognised and admired by the new wave of modern funeral directors as a role model of how to pro...
Showing 1 - 20 of 45 results