Sunday, 8 February 2015

William Bignall Furnisher Funeral Carriages of Tothill Street Westminster

Bound in the conserved volume of Folio 4 of Edward Dunns funeral accounts held at Bromley Archives is a printed handbill dated August 1824 of William Bignalls charges for providing hearses and black coaches "on the stones" to funeral arrangers.
Bignall had been in charge of stables at the Swan with Two Necks Inn Tothill Street but furnished the "death trade" in London and surrounding couties with hearses and funeral coaches as a Master Black Coachman.
Edward Dunn's accounts include references to hiring local named Bromley coachmen in the 1800's but as he also arranged burials further afield he had need of London hearses and coaches. In the period prior to 1820 many burials at Bromley use local named black coachmen and coaches furnished with velvets and fittings by Dunn. It is also likely that Dunn had acquired a hearse as local burials are charged lower than the Bignall rates. Bromley had a group of coachmakers and coachmen so for some funerals Dunn was able to offer his own service. His items for hearse and coach hire in his accounts for a number of larger funeral processions match Bignalls charges in the 1820's.
Bignall provides a service to the  burial grounds up to 3 miles from Tothill Street and mentions Knightsbridge Pimlico Chelsea Kensington Paddington Kentish Town Saint Martin's New Ground Saint Mary-le-bone New Ground Saint Giles New Ground Pancras Pentonville Lambeth Islington Hackney Kingsland Hoxton Bethnal Green Mile End Stoke Newington Bromley by Bow Stepney Limehouse Poplar Rotherhithe Camberwell and Newington Butts. Edward Dunn records burials at several of these burial grounds with take up in Bromley and district and burial in London.
Bignall had a higher rate for burial grounds 3 to 6 miles from Westminster to Hammersmith Acton Kilburn Hampstead Brixton Hornsey Tottenham Holloway beyond the three mile stone Stockwell Peckham Deptford Dulwich Clapham Battersea Fulham Layton Putney West Ham or any place not named above mentioned and not exceeding six miles. Edward Dunn conducted burials over most of London south of the Thames and further afield in North Kent and hearse and coach charges again reflect the rates of Bignall.
Where hearse and coaches fetched or carried the Company and had waiting time this was to be charged at Hackney Carriage rates by Bignall who would also quotes for journeys further afield.
Folio 4 concludes in 1831 but those entries for that year are duplicated in Folio 5. Edward Dunn 1774-1830 used Bignall and in training his assistant Edward Dunn provided the handbill for reference.
Bignalls continued to provide funeral coaches and hearses from premises at 58 Tothill Street as "Funeral Coachmasters" for decades.
The Bromley Archives bill of Bignalls is uncatalogued as it is bound within a page in conservation binding under reference 688/1/4