About Us, a brief history of R Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd
R. Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd based in Ormskirk Road, Pemberton was founded in 1921 by Richard Banks. Until then Richard had been a taxi driver, but helped by his son Herbert he now combined the role of taxi driver with that of undertaker.
The earlier career of taxi services rather than undertaking was not in itself unusual – though to modern eyes its continuation as evidenced by the Banks’ headed notepaper of the 1940’s – ‘R. Banks Funeral Director – Weddings a specialty’ looks a little incongruous.
Clifford Halliwell joined the business in the early 1960’s as a part time driver and funeral worker. Herbert Banks asked Cliff if he would consider taking the job on a full time basis. Cliff agreed, and over the next few years gradually took on the role of funeral director himself.
Herbert banks eventually became ill and his doctors told him it might be a good idea to sell the business as the stresses and strains of the job could easily worsen his already deteriorating health.
As a result of Herbert Banks retirement Cliff Halliwell now bought the business from him and slowly developed what was then a very small enterprise into a significantly larger family business.
In 1974 Cliff’s son Brian joined him, bringing new ideas of his own. Instead of traditional old limousines new modern stretched vehicles were introduced. The business developed steadily, and in 1982 a new funeral home and head office was built in the centre of Pemberton and named Halliwell House.
Expansion was part of the plan, and in the late 1980’s the first branch office, Hallbank House, was opened at Bryn Cross, Ashton in Makerfield. The early 1990’s saw a second branch opened; Windsor House, Scholes.
In 1996, like Herbert Banks before him Clifford Halliwell himself retired due to ill health; his son Brian became Managing Director, helped by his mother, Cliff’s wife Elsie. Sadly Cliff Halliwell passes away on 28th September 1998. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people from all over the United Kingdom. The service was held at St Matthews Church, Highfield, Wigan where the Reverend Bill Harrington, the vicar of St Matthews, officiated at the service assisted by a dear friend of Cliff’s, Rector John Southern, who was vicar at St Johns Church, Pemberton – the parish which the firm had served for many years.
In 2000 a third branch was opened at Grove Lane, Standish and named Clifford House in memory of Cliff Halliwell.
The Managing Director of Edwards Funeral Directors based in Dicconson Terrace Wigan, Richard Edwards approached Brian Halliwell in 2002 to enquire if R. Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd was interested in buying the Edwards business. Following detailed negotiations a purchase price was agreed and in November 2002 R. Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd acquired the Edwards business, with Richard Edwards continuing as Manager.
Yet another expansion would come to fruition in 2004 when the former funeral home of John Monks & Son, respected funeral directors in Leigh, was acquired. Extensive alterations and upgrading were carried out. The premises in Railway Road were renamed Parsonage House after the local colliery which once employed so many people in the Leigh area.
April 2009 saw R. Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd expand its empire further with the opening of a branch in Gidlow Lane, Beech Hill – Whitley House, named after the local area of Whitley, close to where the branch is situated.
October 2011 saw the opening of our funeral dircetors Chorley branch based on Spendmore Lane in Coppull – Bentham house, so named after the street on which it is on the corner of. This was the company’s first venture into Chorley and is run alongside the branch based in Standish.
January 2012 saw yet another expansion of the business with the opening of another new branch based at Hall Green, Upholland,– Stretton House. The name Stretton House was chosen in memory of the former owners of the property The Stretton family who were prominent business owners in the local area. We saw the site as the perfect opportunity to have a a funeral directors based between Wigan & Skelmersdale
The final expansion, for the time being, was the opening of our latest funeral home, Elliot House, Tyldesley in January 2013 on Shuttle Street. The branch is named after General George Augustus Elliott most noted for his command of Gibraltar during the great siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783) and whom Elliott Street, Tyldesley is named.
Today the company is still run by Brian Halliwell MBIE Dip FD, along with his daughter Carina Halliwell Dip FD (company director); his mother Elsie is now retired.
Brian’s wife, Jennifer Halliwell MBIE who runs the personnel side of the business and is also a company director. His son Martin Halliwell runs a sister company called RBF services which is a transportation company.
The company secretary, Catherine Heaton, is an employee who began working with the firm as a Y.T.S at the tender age of 16 in the late 1980’s and has been with the company through every step of its expansions.
Today the firm is the largest independent funeral directors in the area. The company operates a fleet of Jaguar’s which includes the Jaguar hearse used on the Queen Mothers funeral, a Mercedes fleet, and a bespoke 1938 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith hearse which was formerly Winston Churchill’s official vehicle during the war years. We also have a monumental masonry department offering a large range of granite headstones from around the world and golden charter pre payment funeral plans
Our owners, managers, and funeral directing team. Should you wish to contact any of our team you can click the link to email them on their profile.
Managing Director Mr Brian Halliwell M.B.I.E Dip F.D
The managing director and owner of R Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd based at our head office Halliwell house. Mr Halliwell is hands on and is actively involved in the every day running of the company.
Company Director Mrs Jennifer Halliwell M.B.I.E
Company director & shareholder of R Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd, and wife of our managing director. Jennifer is based at Stretton house. Mrs Halliwell is now semi retired but still heads our human resources department
Company Director Mrs Elsie Halliwell
No longer involved in the day to day running of R Banks & Son, Elsie is our managing directors mother, and is now enjoying her retirement.
No Contact Available
Company Director Miss Carina Halliwell Dip F.D
Company director & shareholder of R Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd based at Halliwell house & Stretton house. Miss Halliwell is currently returning from maternity leave to be involved in all the day to day aspects of the business.
Mr Martin Halliwell (RBF Services Limited)
Martin is managing director of our sister company RBF services limited which operate as specialist vehicle transportation specialists. Martin is also a shareholder & company director of R Banks & Son
Contact Mr Halliwell
Mrs Catherine Heaton Company Secretary
Company secretary Catherine Heaton started with the company in the late 80's and is now our registered company secretary. Based at Halliwell house & Edwards, she looks after the day to day accounting, credit control, and ledger
Mr Paul Heaton M.B.I.E FSO Manager
Paul Heaton, married to Catherine has been with the company for over 27 years and is our embalmer & our FSO & health & safety manager. Based at or Halliwell house head office Paul runs the team of funeral service operatives.
Contact Mr Heaton
Mr Gareth Jones Operations Manager
Based at our Head office, Gareth is involved in many of the day to day aspects of the business including procurement of services & supply, recruitment, media, and business development
Mrs Janice Hough. (Currently Studying Dip F.D)
After 5 years working as a funeral arranger & administrator at our Coppull site, Janice made the move to Funeral Director in 2016, based at our head office Pemberton, Janice is also the funeral director at our Coppull & Standish Offices
Miss Nicola Disley Dip F.D
A very popular character here at R Banks & Son, Despite being primarily based at our Head office Nicola is Funeral director at our Scholes branch, Windsor House, & our Beech Hill office Whitley house.
Mr David Lockyer Dip F.D
Hailing from Merseyside with over 20 years experience as a funeral director David joined the company in 2015 and works from our head office Halliwell House, covering funerals across the Wigan borough.
Miss Wendy Green
Wendy joined us late 2015 as funeral director. Wendy brought with her over a decade of experience as a funeral director within the Wigan borough. Wendy is funeral director for our Edwards funeral home in Wigan, & also head office.
Mr Matthew Still
Hailing from London with over 22 years experience as a funeral director Matthew joined the company in 2017, settled quickly and works from our head office Halliwell House, covering funerals across the Wigan borough.
Mrs Karen Dootson (Currently Studying Dip F.D)
Karen joined us in 2016 having spent 15 years working as a funeral arranger within the Leigh area. Karen is now Funeral director at our Leigh, Tyldesley, and soon to be open Atherton branches.