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Historic family undertakers Leverton & Sons promise royal treatment for all

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:08 13 May 2013

Left to right: Funeral director Andrew Leverton, chairman Clive Leverton, funeral director Pippa Leverton and personal assistant Hannah Leverton. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Left to right: Funeral director Andrew Leverton, chairman Clive Leverton, funeral director Pippa Leverton and personal assistant Hannah Leverton. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Archant

Princess Diana, George Orwell and Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce may have died many decades apart but responsibility for each of their funerals fell to the same family.

For more than 200 years, funeral directors Leverton & Sons Ltd have been serving bereaved families in north London and beyond.

More recently, the Royal Family became clients and last month the Leverton family hit the headlines for handling the funeral of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

But regardless of fame and social standing, the family insist no one funeral receives any more effort or commitment than another.

Recalling the moment Leverton & Sons became the Royal funeral directors, chairman Clive Leverton, 69, said: “Back in 1991, I had a phone call from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.

“They said if we were to take on the responsibility of the Royal Family, did we think we could keep our commitment to the current clientele.

“We felt we could and the sad death of Princess Diana in Paris proved the point. We already had 28 funerals booked between her death and her funeral and they all went ahead.

“It goes back to our ethos of looking after everyone equally well.”

The origins of the Leverton dynasty can be traced back to John Leverton, a carpenter born in 1763, who in his mid-20s travelled from his home in Devon to London and set up a coffin-making business in St Pancras.

During the Victorian era, John Leverton’s son took over the business and the hereditary line began.

At the helm today, Clive – John Leverton’s very distant great-grandson (four greats) – is joined by his daughter Pippa, 41, and his nephew Andrew, 48, both directors, as well as Richard Putt, 60, the company’s only non-family director.

Also ever-present in the company’s HQ in Eversholt Street, Mornington Crescent, is Clive’s younger daughter Hannah, 32, who regularly helps man the phones and manage the mountains of paperwork.

The company’s reach sprawls across north west London, with branches in Hampstead, Muswell Hill, Gospel Oak, Golders Green and Kentish Town.

On average, Leverton & Sons handles a thousand funerals a year and despite turning 70 in July, Clive appears to have little intention of retiring anytime soon.

Reflecting on the prospect of a Leverton clan in 200 years providing the same discreet service his family does now, he said: “We simply don’t know what the future holds.

“My brother Keith and I once thought, ‘what about the future?’ And then one day Pippa said, ‘Dad, unless I try, I’ll never know if it’s for me or not’ – that was 18 years ago.”

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