Green’s Carriage Masters shares its family history
Independently owned, Green’s Carriage Masters has been operating for over 50 years. The family-run business employs three generations and boasts a fleet of over 60 vehicles. Based in South East London and with a new satellite hub in Ashford (Kent) the company provides a diverse range of services to the funeral trade nationwide.
From humble beginnings, the company has expanded to become a well-established supplier of funeral vehicles. Matthew Green, partner in Green’s explains: “The company was formed when Norman Green, my grandad, now aged 88, acquired just two Humber Snipe limousines for funerals and weddings. In the 60s Norman’s new business venture covered theatre visits, airport pick-up, weddings and anything in between. As work within the funeral and wedding sector expanded so did the fleet. The cars were moved from the Green’s family home in south London to garages alongside a sub-post office owned by Norman and his wife Joyce. When the post office was sold the growing number of cars were moved to new garages across Catford, Peckham and Lewisham.
“We have been in our Catford premises for 13 years this year, where we have everything under one roof. Our daily trade is still in and around London and the home counties but we’ve been to Wales, Cornwall and Devon to name a few further afield destinations, in fact, our alternative pink hearse went to Scotland for its first job.”
“We have total allegiance to the funeral trade and always operate with family at heart.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY
Norman’s son Martin joined the business back in 1974 and his daughter Sandra in 1997. Martin’s son Matthew then joined the partnership in 2003. All are very actively involved to the present day.
Martin Green, father to Matthew and eldest son of Norman, says: “I started working with my dad, Norman, at the age of 18 years old, and couldn’t be prouder of what the business has become. Family and this family business is everything to me; I wouldn’t ever deny that you need a sense of humour to work with your nearest and dearest, but a family run management team with decades of experience means we all have complementary skills.
“Our vehicles travel much further afield these days, that’s why we are so excited about our new Ashford hub which allows us to be closer to and cater for, new and existing, Kent and Sussex clients at competitive rates. At one stage we used to only operate in London, then within the M25 and now we’re all over the UK, it’s phenomenal.
“On our busiest ever day, our bearers and vehicles were involved in 67 different funerals.”
When they first joined the business Sandra Bromwich, daughter to Norman, and Martin were sent to out to post leaflets for their father. Sandra explains: “When I think of what used to be and what we have become, it’s really exciting to consider how far we have come. We are always at the end of the phone to provide quotes and take bookings and our website www.greenscarriages.com is a great showcase of everything we have to offer. We are a small, friendly, family business who like to keep our finger on the pulse and always looking to branch out with new services. A family partnership, to me, means protecting longevity of service and operating as a close knit team, even when the boys drive me mad.”
Father of one, Matthew Green, (Martin’s son and grandson to Norman) joined Green’s in 2003 and is the third generation. He explains the importance of family: “Since starting a family of my own, it’s reinforced how important family is to me. Being a third generation Green has meant working with my grandad, dad and auntie for 14 years. Martin is my dad, business partner, governor and friend all rolled into one – that makes the day to day work all the more interesting.”
“For me, the most important and exciting thing for Green’s is looking to the future, whilst always remembering our heritage. As the fleet is so large and diverse now, we are able to offer quantity, quality and alternative vehicles. Should you need twenty matching limousines for one funeral, or one bearer for twenty minutes, we are able to deal with the volume and the emergency. We are always looking for new concepts and vehicles to enhance our service, so that our trade customers can offer more choice to their client and to exceed the services of their competition – we have just added some modern aluminium Jaguar XJLs to the fleet.”
“Location is key. We already offer cars and services nationwide – our new Ashford satellite hub is an exciting opportunity to bolster our support to Kent and Sussex, I’m looking forward to working with some new clients in the industry.”
THE STAFF- ‘EXTENDED FAMILY’
Although not all staff members are related, they are still seen as part of the company’s ‘extended family’. Sandra Bromwich explains:“We pride ourselves on our staff; they are our greatest asset and part of the wider Green’s family. Our staff are experienced, supportive and committed individuals who are great ambassadors for our business, and of course a professional representative of the company we are working with.
“Our drivers operate under the full direction of the funeral director. Our pallbearers are able to assist staff at branches for loading, attend church and chapel ceremonies, report directly to crematoria for carry-ins and graveside for burials. Our conductors are a team with a great wealth of experience.
“They represent the company as your funeral director. We pride ourselves on preparation and keeping an eye on the detail. Our ambulance crew have a wealth of industry experience. They are familiar with documentation, procedures and protocol at a family residence, nursing home, hospice and hospital mortuary. Our day attendants are bookable via the diary team within office hours. The out-of-hours crew are a dedicated team directly contactable by mobile phone outside of office hours, week days and weekends. We have total allegiance to the funeral trade and always operate with family at heart.”
For more information on Green’s Carriage Masters phone 020 8695 9500, visit
www.greenscarriages.com and follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.