STOURBRIDGE-based funeral director H. Porter & Sons is marking its 180th anniversary with an appeal for information from history buffs.

The business wants to know whether it is currently the oldest company in the town, having started trading back in 1843.

The firm was established by Richard Porter after the death of his father William in 1843.

Richard, a carpenter, had already been making coffins for local families but set up the business in an effort to provide an income for his widowed mother and other members of the family.

H. Porter & Sons has been based in South Road since 1970 in offices that were originally a credit draper’s shop.

Stourbridge News: Cars outside H. Porter & Sons in South Road, Stourbridge.Cars outside H. Porter & Sons in South Road, Stourbridge. (Image: H. Porter & Sons)

Over the years it has added a number of new buildings, including the former St Michael’s Church in 1984 - which is now used as a garage for hearses and limousines but retains its period chapel appearance externally.

As it approaches another milestone anniversary, owner and director Lucy Porter is eager to find out if the firm, which has helped to arrange more than 14,300 funerals in the past 30 years, is the oldest currently trading in Stourbridge.

She said: “It’s remarkable that a company which started out of family necessity has become such a longstanding member of the local community.

"As we turn 180-years-old, we’re keen to find out whether we are the oldest business in Stourbridge at present, along with information about what life was like in the town in the 1800s.”

Within years of Richard establishing the business, other family members became involved, with son John Porter assisting with coffin making and funeral directing.

Horace Porter, who worked as a bus driver, took over the reins when his father Richard died in 1881.

It then came under the ownership of Stanley and Dorothy Porter, who were joined by John Porter, Lucy’s father, in 1965 until his death in 2008.

John’s legacy continues with the John Porter Community Fund, which makes charitable donations to good causes each year.

To mark its anniversary, the firm is also planning community activities and to open a new mortuary and workshop.

History experts who may be able to help with H. Porter & Sons’ quest for information are invited to email