All about us

Francis & C Walters was established in 1856 by Mr Francis and Mr C Walters and was synonymous with traditional funerals of the highest quality.

The business started in Limehouse in East London in a grade II listed building, formerly an old coach house and one of the first dwellings in Limehouse.

As there were building restrictions on the premises, many original features remained until only a very short time ago.

In the East End, coffins were traditionally made out of rough timber in the shop window. A skilled coffin maker would carry out this task in view of the passing public, with this practise continuing right up to the 1970's.

Two further properties were purchased in Leytonstone and Forest Gate which were sold later by the Walters family.

121 High Street in Wanstead was acquired in the 1940's. It was the remaining part of an old manor house called Mount Pleasant. It had originally been a private residence which then became an institution for unmarried mothers. Wanstead was to become the head office of the company.

Chris Walter’s children, Chris and Gladys, both became involved in the business. When Chris passed away the business was passed solely to Chris Walters Jnr. Whilst Chris Jnr. served in the Air Force during the Second World War, his sister Gladys continued to run the business in his absence, even driving the hearse when necessary.

Chris Walters sold the business in 1960 to a friend he met in the army who had connections in the Wanstead area and in 1965 an experienced funeral director by the name of Thomas Waghorn was employed as Managing Director. Thomas came from a family of funeral directors and was equally keen to involve his own family, so in 1966 his son Melvyn joined the company as a Funeral Director. The company soon became one of the largest independent businesses in East London.

Melvyn moved into the living accommodation above the business with his young family. In 1972 Thomas retired and Melvyn took over as Managing Director. Under Thomas’s guidance, the business expanded acquiring J.W.Simpson Funeral Service in Albany Road, Camberwell and Johnson Funeral Service in Roman Road, Bow.

“Anthony, Melvyn's eldest son, joined the business in 1985 and worked alongside his father. Anthony became a fourth generation Funeral Director.”

Melvyn acquired the majority share holding in 1987 and continued the tradition of funerals within the Waghorn Family.

When Melvyn retired, Anthony took up the day to day running of Francis and C Walters.