East End's 'last' Victorian funeral parlour being restored - and opens as burger bar

The former funeral parlour in Commercial Road before work began

The former funeral parlour in Commercial Road before work began - Credit: Heritage of London Trust

The exterior of the East End's "last" Victorian funeral parlour is being restored - as the interior opens as a burger restaurant.

Family-run Francis and C Walters funeral parlour opened at the building, in Commercial Road, Limehouse, in the 19th century.

The Heritage of London Trust has given a £15,000 grant towards the restoration to the facade, which incurred damage after the building was sold in 2008.

Trust director Dr Nicola Stacey said: “We are thrilled to be rescuing this last of London’s iconic Victorian funeral parlours and helping support the East End’s historic character. 

"The building makes a really significant contribution to the area and we hope will encourage the preservation of other historic sites in the borough.”

The charity and Tower Hamlets Council are working with specialist conservators on the project.

Walthamstow woodturners Nichols Brothers will make detailing such as barley twist pillars while Eskdale Restoration will be recreating the black and gold Francis & C Walters sign that was over the shop since the 1850s.

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The bay window and doorway will be restored and the building’s upper sash windows repaired.

The building's owners Ash Rahman and Abs Shaid said they were proud to be part of its history.

“It’s wonderful to see it now enjoying a bright future, reflecting the East End’s traditions."

Anthony Waghorn, who continues the family name Francis & C Walters Funerals from Wanstead as part of the Co-op Funeralcare, said he believed his grandfather would be thrilled to see the name back on Commercial Road.

The inside of the building has also been repurposed for use as a burger restaurant.

The Burger Hub opened last week and Heritage of London Trust said the move would be "helping revitalise this part of Commercial Road".

Anna Zucchelli, heritage at risk projects officer for the council, said:
“It’s been many years of effort to preserve this building as part of Tower Hamlets' fantastic heritage.”