Our history

We’ve cared for many families over the last 135 years. Steered by compassion, care and respect, Harold White has remained a consistent and reliable pillar of the East London community. With a name built on horse drawn funerals, we have a deep heritage in the area and still continue to offer these traditional processions. And whilst many other things have changed over the years, our original ethos remains the same.

Through the years


George White

George White founded the business in 1888 in Wood Street, Walthamstow right opposite our current premises. His mission was to care for the local community with dignity, compassion and respect – an ethos that has guided us for well over a century.


Bert Harold White

Bert began working under the guidance of his father in 1911, taking over the reigns in 1923. He was the first member of his family to be admitted as a member of the London Association of Funeral Directors in February 1944, with his son Harold George being admitted just a few years later.


Harold George James White

Harold first started working for the family business in 1939. After serving in military campaigns and providing humanitarian aid overseas, he returned to take over Harold White’s in 1958. Passionate about providing the best possible service, both Harold and his wife, Rosina, put their heart and soul into the business. Together they opened up what is now our main funeral home in Old Church Road, Chingford.


George Harold White

George followed in his father’s footsteps and joined Harold White’s in 1967. His gentle nature was well suited to the role of comforting bereaved families and after learning the ropes, he inherited the business in 1979. Alongside his mother, Rosina, he modernised our operations and went on to successfully run the funeral homes for over 40 years.


Etta, Courtney & Rommalee

In 2021, George’s daughters inherited Harold White’s and now oversee the operations for this well established funeral directors. Proud to be the fifth, and first all-female generation to run the business, they are committed to upholding the family values and serving the communities of East London and Essex for many years to come.

The making of an East London institution

Our founder George White opened our first funeral home in 1888 on Wood Street, Walthamstow. Twenty years later, he opened a second home in Hoe Street in 1908 which became the head office and family home for his son, Bert White. By this time, with over 40 horses and a fleet of carriages, Harold White was the largest funeral home in East London to specialise in traditional horse-drawn funerals. The horses were stabled in Walthamstow Village and grazed on Chestnuts field behind the Waltham Forest Town Hall. You can still find the George White Sports Ground at Billet Road in Walthamstow today, this piece of land was donated by our founder and another possible site where the horses once grazed.

Bert’s son, Harold White spent his childhood in the Hoe Street family home and began working in the business at the age of thirteen, learning to make coffins and assisting with the practical aspects of running a funeral home. He left to fight in the Second World War and then volunteered with the Red Cross for a couple of years before returning to the family business. 1952 was the year that George White was born. It was also the year that London was enveloped by the Great Smog for four days – a time when Harold would have to walk in front of the company hearses with a torch (during the day) so that the drivers could avoid hitting the kerb. Harold eventually took over the business in 1958, actively supported by his wife Rosina. He expanded the business, opening up our third funeral home in Old Church Road, Chingford.

Their son, George, also grew up in the Hoe Street family home and worked for Harold White’s from an early age. After taking the reins in 1979, he combined his natural creative flair and entrepreneurial spirit to help streamline the business. George continued to work alongside his mother Rosina and his then wife Susan, mother of Etta, Courtney & Rommalee, who contributed in all areas of the family business. He opened our Buckhurst Hill funeral home in 2019 before leaving Harold White’s to his daughters in 2021. 

The business has previously been known by the names ‘George White’ and ‘George White & Sons’.

From the archives

Get in touch or arrange a call back

You can call us anytime on 0208 529 1530 or send us a message and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. Please let us know if you’d prefer to receive an email rather than a telephone call (or vice versa).