Our History

We have been providing compassionate funeral services to bereaved Bristol families for over 75 years.  Here is a brief summary of our history and how each of our businesses came together:

F Woodruff

F Woodruff was established in 1968 by Fred Woodruff.  The first funeral home was located in Bell Road and moved to Badminton Road, where it remains today, after Fred acquired the site from Funeral Directors, Percy and Amy Teagle.

In the early days Fred relied on hiring hearses and limousines from Bennetts in Clifton before buying his own top of the range Rolls Royce hearse and limousine.

In 1987 F Woodruff was passed on to Austin Sheppard, and with help from wife Nichola and the rest of the family, two further offices have since been established in Yate and Winterbourne.

Fred unfortunately passed away in 2015 however we still run the company today following the values which he believed in.

H G Harris

H G Harris was founded by Tommy H G Harris from the Broad Street funeral home in Staple Hill back in 1952.  Tommy originally lived on site with wife Emily, where they operated their own horses and hearse.

Austin Sheppard took over the business following Mr Harris’ passing in 1970.

Austin is a familiar figure to many residents in the Staple Hill having been born and raised in the town. His father used to run F Summers memorial masons.

The business has developed over 40 years with help from Mary Taylor who helped run the office during Austin’s rugby career, where he played both for Bristol and England.

L & J Gulwell

L & J Gulwell, as the name suggests, was founded by Les and Jean Gulwell. Les had previously worked as a Funeral Director with Mr Pitcher in Thornbury before moving to his own site in Thornbury High Street in 1992, offering a funeral service to families in Thornbury, Pilning, Severn Beach and the surrounding area.

The business was passed onto Austin Sheppard in 2001. Les Gulwell sadly passed away in 2009 however his spirit lives on through the ethos and values of the company.

Member of the National Association of Funeral Directors The national society of allied and independent funeral directors

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