Gateway Object: Handle and Leaflet

Newman Brothers Leaflet and Handle
Black and white image from George VI's coronation


This was the first marketing leaflet Newman Brothers produced after the Second World War. They acknowledge that the shortage of materials  had made the period difficult for them. It’s significant that the handle they have depicted on the leaflet is made from brass, the highest-quality metal used to produce coffin fittings. After they nearly closed during the war, this was perhaps a symbolic message to their customers that the Newman Brothers’ name was still associated with quality. 

The handle itself, is art deco in design, dating from around the late 1930s.

With the lifting of wartime restrictions, Newman Brothers were once again able to offer “a wide and comprehensive range of Coffin Furniture”. They emphasised “dignity in design and workmanship and finish of the highest quality”. These words harken back to the company’s heyday during the 1930s and earlier. Indeed, when George VI died in February 1952, Newman Brothers’ handles adorned the royal coffin once again. But prestige was not enough, in order to survive they would have to capture all areas of the market. Their prices had to be competitive and they’d have to move with the times, diversify their production line and eventually embrace the new material of choice: plastic. Click here to find out more about Newman Brothers’ attempt to evolve with changing times.

View the entire collection