G.S. Keates & Co is the oldest established family owned Funeral Directors in the London Borough of Richmond. They have been helping and advising local families for over 140 years.
G.S. Keates was founded in 1869 and began trading in Teddington and Hampton Hill. At that time the Teddington Cemetery was relatively new and the Keates premises were located in an excellent position, in Church Road opposite the Shacklegate Lane cemetery entrance.
ORIGINS & HISTORY ~
The business was started in Feltham, Middlesex by James Lodge (1762-1836) who was a builder and carpenter and also became the Parish Clerk. James was born in Marnhull, Dorset and was one of seven children. His father died when he was four and his mother when he was thirteen so James and his sibling became orphans. Legend has it that he left Marnhull to escape the Press Gangs and was making his way to London when he happened on the village of Feltham and decided to settle there rather than continue to London.
His eldest son William (1789-1853) took over from him as the village builder and undertaker. In those days it fell on the local builder or carpenter to act as the undertaker as they had the necessary skills to make coffins. The term undertaker comes from the phrase ‘to undertake the arrangements’. Although these days we prefer to be called Funeral Directors most people still call us undertakers. William and his wife Charlotte had twelve children between 1823 and 1838 3rd generation.
Their fourth son John (1828-1876) took over the carpentry and undertaking business from his father. John’s older brother William (1824-1902) took over the building business but as far as we know never undertook funerals. John and his wife Emma had eight children and then John died suddenly aged 48 leaving Emma to run the business and raise the children.
4th generation Their second son Stanley (1865-1941), named after the finder of Dr.Livingstone, gradually took over the business from his mother, after completing an apprenticeship with a local master carpenter. During the next decade he became a builder in his own right as well and became one of the Church Wardens. Stanley and his wife Janet had four children, two boys and two girls. Both sons George (1896-1965) and William (1902-1977) worked in the business with their father and eventually took over from him when he retired.5th generation
In 1939 the building side was closed down, leaving only the carpentry and funeral works. Soon after the war, William bought out his brother George to become sole owner until 1965 when he turned it into a Limited Company and gave each of his three sons, Stanley, William and John an equal share.
6th generation In 1972 the three brothers bought their main competitor W. Lock & Sons and the Company has continued to expand through acquisition and by opening new offices. It now has offices in South-West London, Middlesex, Surrey and Berkshire. Its Head Office, Ludlow House, is built on the site of Spring Farm once the home of William Lodge (1824-1902) who ran the building business in the third generation.
LODGE BROTHERS TODAY~
Stanley, William and John have now all retired and their children are responsible for continuing the family tradition of providing funerals and memorials for the local community. Robert, Andrew, Janet, Beverley, Christopher and Michael are the seventh generation of the family to work in the business.
Lodge Brothers achieved the Investors in People Award in July 2002 as recognition for the efforts of the Company and its staff in attaining such high levels of customer care both internally and externally.