Burnished brass gothic handles, like the example above, would have featured on royal coffins, rather than the brown-bronze version above.
360 View of Gothic Handle
Use the play button to rotate the object automatically, or alternatively you can drag the item with the mouse or your finger to move it around.
Anthony Allen was the son of Arthur Allen, a Travelling Salesmen who worked at Newman Brothers from 1903 to 1939. As a boy in his teens in the 1930s, young Anthony loved to visit his dad’s workplace. We interviewed Anthony in 2007 and he recalls how the cast products were made in the video below.
Amongst Newman Brothers’ customers were the royal undertakers, and Newman coffin fittings have adorned the coffins of George V and VI, Queen Mary, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother, and most probably all royals in between. Newman Brothers also produced the fittings for great statesmen such as Winston Churchill and many other high-profile people.
The gothic handle is the handle that Newman Brothers are perhaps best known for because it is the handle that has been used on the coffins of royalty and Winston Churchill among others. Perhaps the proudest moment in Newman Brothers’ history was to have supplied the fittings for the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill, who died in January 1965.
Churchill’s funeral was a huge event in the nation’s history; it was the largest state funeral that had ever taken place, and the live television coverage was watched by millions. J.H. Kenyon, who had been the royal undertakers since 1928, supplied the coffin for Churchill, so it is not surprising that Newman Brothers’ fittings were also used on his coffin as they had been on the royal coffins previously. The fittings and handles favoured were from Newman Brothers’ finest cast-brass ‘Gothic’ range. A colleague recalled that Newman Brothers’ managing director, John Kellett was “very well liked in the trade….and did special travelling….to special customers, big customers in London like Kenyons.” It is said that after Churchill’s funeral, Kellett would begin meetings by banging his hand on the table and reminding everyone that it was Newman Brothers that had made Churchill’s coffin handles.
The funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, the largest state funeral that had ever been mounted, took place over 50 years ago, on 30th January 1965. The code name for the funeral was ‘Operation Hope Not’, and plans for the funeral began in 1953, 12 years before Churchill died.
Above: Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral, 30th January 1965.