Our History

Pidgeons, The Cardiff Family Funeral Director Established 1920 overseen by John Pidgeon

1920-1940: The early days

the-early-days The company was established in Grangetown by James Pidgeon in 1920, initially as a private care hire firm, during which period they conveyed many celebrities of the times, including King George V (who gave a 10 shilling tip to his driver who happened to be James Pidgeon). Other customers included the American newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hurst, who owned St Donat’s Castle, and Joseph Kennedy, father of President John F Kennedy. Pidgeons also supplied cars for wedding hire and charabangs (large open coach-type vehicles) for works outings, Whitsun treats etc.

Pidgeons owned the first motor hearse in Cardiff, which was hired out to undertaking businesses. It was decided by the family at that time that under-taking would be a natural extension to the hire business and during the early 30s Pidgeons conducted their first funeral service.

The founder, James Pidgeon, was born in Lyndhurst, St Canton, and prior to beginning the firm worked on the Taff Valley Railway. He married Kate Eliza Winslade, who was related to the Winslade pop manufacturers. His son, also named James, and his daughter, Nell, joined him in the business prior to the start of the second world war.

James served in the Merchant Navy as an Engineer Officer worldwide during the war with a brief pause to marry Violet Gale on 16th September 1940. Her father was a docks pilot and she worked at Coastliners.

Having sustained a broken neck during the war which reduced his height and gave him a characteristic stooped stance, James Pidgeon rejoined his family in the business which went from strength to strength.

1950-1990: Diversification

diversifcation Gradually Pidgeons reduced their private hire work. In the 1950s they had Cardiff’s only purpose built funeral home constructed at 539 Cowbridge Road East, Victoria Park and shortly afterwards decided to dedicate all their considerable experience to funeral directing. The Cowbridge Road building was designed by James Pidgeon senior, who showed considerable foresight in its design and subsequent adaptability for the future needs of the bereaved it was dedicated to serve.

In 1987 James Pidgeon passed away, leaving the future in the hands of his family who still run the company today – his wife, Violet Pidgeon who was the Company Secretary and Chairman of the Board of Directors died in 2003, their youngest son John Pidgeon became Chairman and Company Secretary, until 2018 when Pidgeons to ensure the long term future became part of the Beverley Funeral Service Family.John Pidgeon oversees the daily running of Pidgeons.

The year 1989 saw the premises enlarge to provide enhanced facilities for the bereaved. The chapel, viewing rooms, reception area and arrangement offices are all on the same level so there are no steps for the disabled or elderly to negotiate.

Looking to the future

pidgeons-buildingWheelchair access is simple, using the gently sloping frontage to the premises. The entire funeral home is air conditioned, so whatever the weather the temperature is outside, clients are comfortable when visiting the premises.

The company uses Daimler Limousines which provide plenty of room and comfort for the bereaved and are the finest vehicles available for the bereaved in Cardiff. The hearses and limousines are the most modern Daimler fleet in Cardiff. They are distinguished vehicles and are readily recognised by their distinctive aubergine colour and personalised JP number plates.

Today the dedicated staff at Pidgeons have between them over 300 years of experience in the funeral profession, serving the needs of the bereaved. All the company’s funeral directors hold a professional qualification in funeral directing and the remaining staff are highly trained professionals.

When Pidgeons first traded in 1920 there were many undertakers in Cardiff. Times have changed. Today there are no undertakers in Cardiff – funeral directors have taken their place. Many people think undertakers are the same as funeral directors.

This is incorrect – an undertaker will undertake to build you a new wall, or paint your room or even make you a coffee table or undertake your funeral. A funeral director, however will only provide a funeral or services directly related to it.

Today, Pidgeons The Cardiff Family Funeral Director established 1920 is still overseen by John Pidgeon and continues to employ local staff who are all resident in the local community.

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02920 226 604

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