Bungard Funeral Directors is one of the oldest established businesses in Hove serving the community for over 106 years.
In 1906 Oliver Bungard, who was a Monumental Mason, opened a Funeral Directors’ office at 142 Sackville Road, Hove. The first funeral was conducted on 7th April of that year. By 1916 the firm had moved to its present location at 90 Sackville Road, Hove and the Monumental Masonry work moved to 270-272 Old Shoreham Road, Hove.
Oliver Bungard’s two eldest sons, James Oliver and Ernest joined the firm on leaving school. When their father died in 1919 they carried on as partners until Ernest died in 1928 aged 37 years. His place as partner was taken by Hervey Arnold, his youngest brother, who had joined the firm in 1922 when he was seventeen. In 1930 they employed their brother-in-law William Wilmer who worked for the firm for the next 30 years.
In 1940 James Oliver formed the business into a Limited Company with himself as Chairman and his wife Mary and brother Hervey as directors. Soon after this he became ill and died in 1941. After he was taken ill the business was run under the direction of Hervey Arnold until his retirement in 1971.
In 1939 Leonard Whittle, who married one of James Oliver’s twin daughters joined the firm. During the war his wife Margaret took his place in the business while Leonard served in Malta. In 1967 when Mary Ann, James Oliver’s wife, died, Leonard and Margaret became directors. Leonard died in 1973 aged 58. His son James joined in 1968 and worked for the company for 44 years before retiring in June 2012.
Rupert Hervey Bungard, Hervey Arnold’s son, joined the firm in 1970. He was educated at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School. He became a Director of the firm in 1971. He was President of the Brighton, Hove and District Association of the National Association of Funeral Directors in 1979.
The premises at 90 Sackville Road has changed significantly over the years. In the beginning the front of the premises was used to display the memorials and at the rear was an office and workshop. Behind these was a storage area for coffin timber and a garage for the hearse. In those days a chapel of Rest was not required as the dead were laid out at home. When the need for a chapel became apparent half of the memorial showroom was converted into an office and the office became the chapel of rest.