In 1870 the streets of Morley would have looked very different to how they are today.
However one unassuming business serving the community of Leeds has stood the test of time and still stands as a bastion of “the most patriotic town in England”. J.W Binks Funeral Directors is managed under the careful watch of the sixth generation of Binks funeral directors – 28-year-old Alexander Richard Binks – and the service is the oldest funeral directors in Morley and the surrounding areas.
Alex’s great- great-great-grandfather Alderman John Walter Binks opened the business in 1870 on Albert Road. His profession at the time was as a joiner making furniture – and bespoke coffins. Alderman Binks’ skills for joinery and carpentry led him into the trade of what was then known as funeral undertaking – a common overlap for wood workers at the time.
Requirements such as removing customer’s windows so that large coffins could be taken into the family home fitted perfectly with the talents of craftsman such as Alderman Binks. Nowadays Alex is responsible for ensuring the correct balance is finely maintained between the well-founded traditions of funeral directing and the current demands of modern life. The internet and social media have left no industry untouched in the last two decades and funeral directing – one of the oldest professions in the world – has also needed to move with the times to ensure they serve the needs of their clients. But despite modernisation online, the company is very much rooted in family tradition and runs as a father and son partnership, with Alex’s Father Richard Binks still maintaining a hands-on role.
But it was personal choice that saw Alex join the business. He said: “Both my parents encouraged me to find my own path, spread my wings and do as I saw fit. It was only through circumstances that led me to examine joining the family business. I found it was something that not only gave me a great deal of satisfaction but something that I was quite adept at, so it seemed a good fit.”