Since 1898, Mortons has served the local Northfield, Cotteridge and Rubery communities with its services. Passed down through generations of two families, we have been entrusted by many to honour their loved ones with the right funeral.
In this time, some things have changed a lot – and others not at all. Continue reading to see how Mortons and the UK’s relationship with grief, death and funerals has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century.
1898 – 1931
Mortons was founded by Albert Morton in 1898, during the end of the Victorian era, where things looked quite different. Hearses, like most other transport, were pulled by horses. Memorial jewellery was a common way of remembering a loved one, incorporating a name or date of death.
From the beginning, Albert took pride in the service he brought to the community. Since then, Mortons’ services have continued to focus on honouring the lives of individuals in a meaningful way for them and their loved ones. At the start, burial was the typical way to be laid to rest – cremation was legalised in 1902, but it took time to gain popularity. Now, polls suggest the majority of UK adults opt for cremation.
The Morton family
1932 – 1968
Albert’s son, Victor, joined the family business in 1932, although his role was interrupted in 1939 when he served in the RAF during the war.
When Albert sadly passed away in 1941, his wife Caroline ran the business for five years until Victor’s demobilisation. When Victor returned, the business relocated to Bristol Road South in Northfield – where our head office remains today.
Victor was passionate about maintaining tradition. He always led the cortege away from the client’s home on foot for a short distance – this is something we still uphold today. These small details make a big difference when saying goodbye to a loved one.
1968 – 2004
Victor’s sons, Grant and Miles Morton, took over running the company following his death in 1968.
They expanded the company to two new offices in their time, the Rubery office in 1982 and the Cotteridge office in 1994, to be able to offer Mortons’ services to even more of the community. The two also appointed Derek Case in 1982 to assist with the development needs of Mortons.
Funerals were developing too. In 1993, the first green burial site opened in the UK, a reflection of increasing knowledge of the importance of protecting our planet.
As cremation became more popular, more options became available to give ashes a meaningful final resting place, such as within burial ground or somewhere important to the person. In 1997, ashes were launched into space for the first time to be laid to rest among the stars!
2005 – today
By 2005, Derek Case had become managing director, and his daughter Sarah Case joined the company, with the two steering the company through the changing industry.
In 2015, on Miles Morton’s retirement, Derek and Sarah took ownership of the company, and continue to uphold the strong standards, traditions and values in its services.
Refurbishment and modernisation are now complete at all of our offices, and Mortons is able to provide a wide range of both funeral and memorial services to meet the diverse needs of the community. Within these communities, we see both new clients and families that have trusted us for generations.
One trend from the past in particular that has regained in popularity is commemorative jewellery. In its return, it is now often made from ashes and provides a beautiful remembrance piece.
A look forward
We are regularly approached by clients looking for environmentally friendly funerals, and as concerns for the planet rise, so will the need for funerals that do not harm the natural environment.
This can mean simply mean limiting any negative environmental impact, such as coffins sourced from sustainable wood or other materials like cardboard. Some may opt for a home or woodland burial, for which there are now a number of sites throughout the Midlands.
At Mortons, we take a personal responsibility to be aware of how all of our activities impact the environment, and continuously look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, no matter which type of funeral you choose for a loved one.
While we maintain some of the practices from throughout our history, we strive to always meet the needs of our local community.
For funerals at present and of the future, we offer services to reflect your unique requirements. Whether that’s a particular style of funeral, a simple funeral or a direct cremation – our bespoke services are here to stay.
When planning a funeral, consider talking with us to settle on exactly what it is you want for your loved one, and we’ll use our vast experience to put together a package that suits your needs.