When Stan, the grandson of the founder Thomas Cribb, commenced work with the family business in 1942, his initial duties were the care and presentation of the stables and “his” Friesians became his first love.

The Dutch Friesian is the traditional funeral horse, more commonly known as the “Belgian Black”. When the horses were first imported to Britain there was no port in the Netherlands their home country, and so they were transported to Belgium to be exported on barges from Antwerp. They were then taken up the Thames to the Elephant and Castle area of London where they were sold at market every Thursday.

With the rest of Europe occupied by Germany the supply was cut off resulting in the motor hearse replacing the horse-drawn hearse in the late 1940s.

The family’s strong commitment to tradition and traditional customs culminated in the re-introduction of the Victorian horse-drawn hearse by T Cribb & Sons forty years later.

In the mid 1970s, Stan’s son Graham discovered an original 1900 ‘Washington’ glass hearse. This was lovingly restored to its former glory, and in keeping with his great grandfather’s strong belief that if you are going to do anything, only the best will do, no expense was spared in re-creating an exact replica of the harness, using old photographs and books as reference.

On an outing to Windsor Horse show Graham noticed a Dutch group showing Friesian horses. The next logical step was a trip to Holland to purchase a pair. Since the first trip we have purchased many

more, and now proudly own fourteen magnificent Friesian black beauties.

Fortunately we still had all our original velvets and truncheons and which were still in excellent condition and continued to adorn our funerals until they were tragically destroyed in a fire at our stables in 2011.

We still use plumes that were predominant in the Victorian era. The Undertakers Association banned these in 1914 as when they were wet, the weight of the plumes would cause the head to droop. Today, we use dyed black ostrich feathers to adorn the heads of our funeral horses as a token of this past tradition.

Our horse-drawn vehicles are recognised as the premier turnout in Great Britain and have won major shows including Royal Windsor, British Driving Society Smiths Lawn and Royal Berkshire. Funerals are carried out all over the country by
T Cribb & Sons’ horses and hearses that are transported in Mercedes vehicles custom built by Oakley to T Cribb’s exacting specifications.

Although now retired from the business Stan still maintains his interest in his beloved Belgian Blacks and is a regular visitor to the stables where he keeps a watchful eye.

Each year we carry out over 500 horse-drawn funerals proving the continued popularity of the traditional horse-drawn hearse not just in the London area. Our horses and carriages travel all over the United Kingdom by special request of the families who wish only the best for their family funerals.

Victoria House · 10 Woolwich Manor Way Beckton · London E6 5PA
Tel: 0207 476 1855 · Email: info@tcribb.co.uk · www.tcribb.co.uk


Our Horse Drawn History

Victoria House · 10 Woolwich Manor Way Beckton · London E6 5PA
Tel: 0207 476 1855 · Email: info@tcribb.co.uk · www.tcribb.co.uk