In case you missed us in the Argus on Tuesday 22nd April 2014


James Whittle and Richard WhittleOne of the oldest established businesses in Hove is Bungard Funeral Directors who have served the local community for 108 years.

Bungard Funeral Directors uses the founding family name and has seen five generations of Bungard family lineage at the head of the firm. In 1906 Oliver Bungard,  a Monumental Mason, opened a Funeral Directors  at 142 Sackville Road and conducted the first funeral on 7th April that year.  By 1916 the firm was in its present location at 90 Sackville Road with the  Monumental Masonry work carried out at 270-272 Old Shoreham Road. 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.  Ernest’s place as partner was taken by younger brother and youngest son of James Oliver, Hervey Arnold, who  joined in 1922 at aged 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. James Oliver died in 1941 at which point  the business was run under the direction of Hervey Arnold until his retirement in 1971. Leonard Whittle Masons Yard 1949 2In 1939 Leonard Whittle, who married one of James Oliver’s twin daughters, Margaret,  joined the firm.  During the war Margaret took Leonard’s  place in the business.  In 1967 when Mary Ann, James Oliver’s wife, died, Leonard and Margaret became directors. Rupert Hervey Bungard, Hervey Arnold’s son, joined the firm in 1970 and 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. Rupert retired in 2000 after 30 years at the family firm. The current director team established itself when James Whittle joined in 1968 as a Funeral Director’s Assistant and became Joint Managing Director with Rupert when Leonard Whittle passed away in 1973. James retired after 44 years with the company in 2012 and handed the reins over to his youngest some  son Richard who became the fifth generation of the Bungard family lineage to join in 2011. Richard has joined at a particularly exciting time for the business.  The most pressing priority being to update and modernise the business and premises.   Originally the front of the premises at 90 Sackville Road 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 to accommodate a needed chapel of rest. The challenge for Richard now is to ensure that the property and business meets modern customer needs but preserves the history and tradition of the property and the family. Richard is keen to hear from other Brighton & Hove businesses that have served the local community for over 100 years (or close to) to set up a “Brighton & Hove Over 100 Hundred Club.” The club would help celebrate traditional family businesses and local businesses that contribute to life in the city of Brighton & Hove.