Tradesmen and their tools – another adventure in the life of the vintage lorry hearse

Charles 2 Comments

Posted by David Hall

Whilst initially many people using Vintage Lorry Funerals were former Lorry Drivers, the recent business expansion has involved individuals from across the whole spectrum of employment and social backgrounds. In fact Lorry Drivers only account for 40% of the current profile, which includes Tradesmen and their Tools.

A modern day Joiner, or Chippie using the current vernacular, uses cheap saws that are often thrown away each night on Building Sites. However, in the 1950s a Craftsman took great care of his Tools which were lovingly cleaned at the end of each day. David Hall, who owns Vintage Lorry Funerals, uses his Great Uncle Bob’s saw from the 1950’s when he is preparing timber for the support structure which holds the flowers in a display. As David works he thinks back to his youth helping his Grandfather’s Brother on woodwork projects and remembers the stories his Uncle Bob would tell about his time in the Pit and World War I. Bob Wallace survived the Battle of the Somme but was put on a charge for an act of human kindness, giving a starving German prisoner a piece of his bread.

The picture above is of a Mechanic’s Funeral in Aldershot where David provided the giant spanners, oil cans and car jacks. The Leyland Beaver pulled out of Bradford-on-Avon at 0445 hours with the strategy of getting past Basingstoke before the traffic builds from 0715 hours being clearly established from previous funerals. David was through Basingstoke by 0700 hours and he parked in a lay-bye on the A30, assembling the spanners in their allocated positions as cars thundered by in the rush hour. The Leyland Beaver arrived early at Fleet, with David telling the Funeral Director, ‘You are better off looking at me, than looking for me!’ As the flowers were loaded quicker than expected, David asked the Funeral Director if someone could run him to the other side of the town where David’s Auntie lived. David had communicated each Christmas with his Dad’s Sister-in-Law but hadn’t seen her for over 40 years. She was very pleased to see him and her Daughter made a cup of tea, however, both ladies were very concerned when a black funeral car stopped outside the house. They were relieved when David explained it was his taxi. The funeral went very well apart from a delay at the Deceased’s house which was caused by the Widow making a detailed inspection of every aspect of the Mechanic’s Theme. The Widow also thanked David for providing the Ivy which supplemented the flowers and was her husband’s favourite plant. Pictures that David supplied of the funeral were placed inside a Memory Box by the Widow along with other items, which will mean a lot to their Grandchildren.

So when a Craftsman’s Family chooses the 1950 Leyland Beaver for his final journey then, where applicable, David can offer to supply tools lent by members of his Support Team, to supplement the flowers. This concept provides a memorable Tribute and also takes up the space created from reduced flower volumes in these difficult economic times.

Examples of Tradesmen and their Tools include:-

BRICKLAYER: trowels, spirit level, line

PLUMBER: blow lamp, copper pipe, water pipe

MECHANIC: spanners, jacks, oil cans

CARPENTER: block planes, saws, clamps

GARDENER: wheel barrow, spade, rake, fork

1930’s FARM HAND: gripe, slasher, sickle

GRASS CUTTER: A Lawn Mower kindly provided by Norton Garden Machinery.

The list continues to grow, and David awaits his next challenge.


  1. Charles

    Another lovely story, David, thank you. Your lorry looks fab and all those little extras must mean so much to the families. Your attention to detail and the planning you put in to make sure you arrive in good time is awesome!

  2. Charles

    Truly, the devotion to being ‘looked at, rather than looked for’ is a sterling service in these slacker days.

    I am both moved and excited by David Hall’s commitment to representing the trade of the person who has died. I am currently studying the funeral practices of the Dagara tribe of West Africa, as I am convinced that we in the ‘modern’ world have a lot to learn from the sophisticated practices embedded in their three-day funerals.

    One of these practices is the explicit honouring of the dead person’s trade. The context is that everyone born into this Earth-life is believed to have come with a gift; part of the sorrow of a funeral is that the ‘village’ will now have to struggle on without the benefit of that person’s gift, and so celebrating it is a part of the grieving and honouring process.

    Let’s do more of it!

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