In early November, Leeds Minster was the focus for a memorial service which marked 175 years and five generations of the Dodgson family providing funeral services in the city.
Wm Dodgson & Son was founded in 1842 by William Dodgson, whose great, great grandson Martin continues to be actively associated with the business today.
Martin Dodgson, who served as one of the youngest Lord Mayors of Leeds in 1983, said: “I am proud to recall the progress of Dodgsons from the early days of my great great grandfather to the present day.”
The service on 11 November focused on local families, remembering loved ones who had died in recent years. Conducted by The Rev Canon Sam Corley, it was attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jane Dowson with local ministers The Rev Robert Creamer and The Rev Andy Myers also present.
Music was provided by the successful Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, which is sponsored by Wm Dodgson’s parent company Funeral Partners. The congregation reflected on Wm Dodgson’s role in Leeds’ history, viewing displays and old photographs of the city compiled by Peter Kelly from Dodgsons.
Founded in a ‘one up one down’ cottage and joiner’s workshop in Shannon Street, Leeds 9, Wm Dodgson continued to serve the local community when William’s son John Dodgson took over the business.
The firm moved into new premises in Harehills in the mid-1930s, where Martin’s grandfather William and his brother Lindley established one of the first, if not the first, Chapels of Rest in Leeds. They purchased a motor hearse and limousine, then a novel departure from the traditional horse and carriages.
Both William Snr and Martin’s father William served as President of the National Association of Funeral Directors.
Martin joined the family firm from school in 1957 and, with his father, moved the business to its current premises in Harehills. Wm Dodgson expanded, establishing branches in Halton, Kippax, Middleton Park and Moortown, serving communities across the City of Leeds and surrounding areas. Martin served as National President of The British Institute of Embalmers in 1978.
While the family no longer manages the firm, and it is now part of the UK’s third largest funeral services business, Funeral Partners, Martin maintains an active interest and continues to conduct funerals.
Regional Development Director for Funeral Partners, Julian Hodgkinson, said: “We are proud to be associated with the Dodgson family, together with the firm’s long and pioneering history. After 175 years, the funeral homes remain at the forefront of supporting the families of Leeds. The staff are very proud of the Dodgson name and what it stands for.
“Martin is the fifth generation Dodgson and, if not at Headingly watching the cricket, he can be found at our main branch in Lupton Avenue on a regular basis. He ensures his forefathers’ legacy is maintained, and we continue to offer the highest levels of service which have been passed down from father to son.”