A major project to upgrade and expand our mortuary facilities has been formally opened by the President of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) John Adams in a special ceremony attended by local members of the funeral profession.

The work, which was commissioned last April, also includes the creation of a new coffin workshop, floral tribute storage and team changing areas. We are particularly proud to have completed this development in what is our 180th year of caring for local bereaved families.

The revamped facilities have seen a doubling in mortuary capacity and the installation of the latest clinical-standard equipment used in the care of the deceased in procedures such as embalming and make-up. 

Another major feature of the project is a second floor purpose-built archive area, which is used to safely store company records – as well as ashes before their return to families. 

This new floor also boasts an office space which, if another emergency like the Covid pandemic were to occur, will allow us to divide staff into teams to minimise the risk of disruption to services. 

Speaking at the event, John Adams (pictured with Lucy Porter, owner and Director of H. Porter & Sons) said it was an honour to be invited to open the new mortuary, describing how the upgrade was an example of a funeral director “adapting and rising to the challenges” of modern society.

“There are four areas where funeral directors need to prioritise in order to succeed today. They are 1, ensuring respect and dignity, 2, offering a personalised and meaningful experience, 3, being professional and having integrity, and 4, providing emotional support. It’s clear that Lucy is excelling in all these areas and is a great example to the profession,” John said. 

Also at the event was Ross Hickton, Second Vice President of SAIF (pictured with Lucy Porter below). He said: “It’s fantastic to see independent funeral directors investing in their premises and facilities to ensure bereaved families receive the highest standards of care. This is something H. Porter & Sons has been doing for 180 years – the people of Stourbridge and surrounding areas are really lucky to be served by such a passionate local funeral director.

“The new mortuary upgrade is incredibly impressive. It shows what a brilliant ambassador H. Porter & Sons is for the SAIF family of independent funeral directors, whose values are all about delivering professional, personalised care to communities across the UK. I wish the business every success in the years ahead.”

Lucy Porter added: “We wanted to create a space that truly meets the needs of modern families, representing the very best standards in funeral care. For instance, access to the mortuary is now via digital code, which only authorised team members possess. I also wanted to ensure the facilities work for our staff, which is why colleagues have played a key role in designing the layout and siting of equipment. 

Lucy Porter with SAIF 2nd Vice President Ross Hickton

“We’re extremely proud of the end result and know that if any of our families wanted to view our facilities, we would have no hesitation in showing them around.”

Lucy had originally planned to start the project in the spring of 2020, however, it was delayed as a result of the pandemic. 

“The disruption was very frustrating but it enabled us to rethink the overall design and create something that has made us more resilient to future challenges as a business,” she said.

H. Porter & Sons marks its 180th anniversary of caring for bereaved people this year.  Our firm was established by Richard Porter, following the death of his father William in 1843. 

Richard, a carpenter, had already been making coffins for local families but set up the business in an effort to provide an income for his widowed mother and other members of the family.

H. Porter & Sons has been based in South Road since 1970 in offices that were originally a credit draper’s shop. Over the years, as more bereaved families have turned to us for care and support, we have added a number of new buildings, including the former St Michael’s Church in 1984, which is now used as a garage for hearses and limousines but retains its period chapel appearance externally. The new mortuary facilities represent the latest development in our evolution.