Coffin and casket manufacturer, J C Atkinson & Son, were featured on BBC Look North on January 3. The company was portrayed as a successful business bucking the Northern manufacturing decline.
Julian Atkinson, M.D and grandson of the founder John Clifford Atkinson, David Waugh, senior supervisor on the factory floor and Jamie Luckley, reflections manager were interviewed for the feature.
The BBC reported that the business has planted more than 10,000 trees to help replace the 12 tonnes of wood it uses per month. The family-run firm produces around 70,000 coffins and caskets per year.
Any wood offcuts go into a biomass heater as pellets to heat the factory. What’s not required is sold on to other businesses with biomass heaters, making J C Atkinson a renewable energy provider.
Creating a coffin
From the delivery of materials to the finished products, it takes around 14 people to produce a JC Atkinson coffin. The company has seen major changes within the sector over the last few decades.
When the firm first started making personalised coffins over ten years ago, the company made one a week. Now it makes as many as one an hour, of which 80 percent are bespoke designs specifically created to meet the family’s need. This is the only instance in which employees liaise directly with the bereaved. In other circumstances, the business deals with funeral directors.
To view the interviews visit BBC Look North’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BBCLN/.