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Article by Patricia Abbott, 2008
Asher Abbott - Cabs

Ladies' outing
A horse drawn carriage with a lady driver - an outing

 Rushden Echo, 17th August 1900


Has to LET ON HIRE, upon the most reasonable terms, the following Vehicles:-

TRAPS of all descriptions, WAGGONETTES, BROUGHAMS, PLEASURE BRAKES, to carry 12 and 20 persons; BROUGHAM and pair of horses for Weddings.

SHELLIBIER for single and pair of horses for Funerals. Single horse HEARSE. BROUGHAM with Car combined, for Children’s Funerals. Mourning Coaches, Etc., Etc.

LANDAU and GREY for Weddings.


The business of A. Abbott & Sons (Rushden) Ltd., was started in 1885 by Mr. Asher Abbott, back in 1885, of course there were no motor vehicles. Transport was horse drawn, and Mr. Asher Abbott had a team of beautiful horses. These were used to pull carriages for local gentry, for works outings etc. On Saturdays Asher would exchange some of his beautiful black horses for the grey horses which were owned by the local baker. These he would dust with flour to make them more acceptable for wedding carriage hire. Asher also supplied horse drawn hearses to the local undertakers, this was a large part of his work. At this time the local fire brigade were often grateful to use Abbotts horses to pull the fire tender.

Early hearse Charabanc
An early hearse
One of the charabancs

Rushden Echo, 1st March 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mr Asher Abbott has now recovered from his serious illness, and he and the members of the family wish to express their thanks for the many kind inquiries which have been made.

In the early 1900's Asher's two sons William (also known as Asher) and Cyril joined with him in the running of the business, this consisted mainly of coach excursions, until 1938, when that part of the business was sold to Birch Bros. An account 1929-32
A bill head 1924
Invoice to rent out land in Blackmere 1924
A statement to Mr Allen - for hire of coaches & hearses 1929-32

Abbott's bus
The caption we have is "an Arthur Sanders' works outing in
A Abbott's bus, outside South End old school" - undated.

Cyril Abbott was killed in the bombing of Rushden in the 1940's, William continued the business of providing transport in the form of taxis, chauffeuring and of course wedding vehicle hire was quite popular. Not forgetting the provision of hearses and bearers to the local funeral directors. By this time motor vehicles had taken the place of horse drawn carriages. 1948 saw the third generation joining the business, when Mr William Asher Abbott (Bill) took his place with his father in the company.

As local funeral directors started to get motor vehicles of their own, it was decided in 1971 that A. Abbott & Sons should branch out into funeral directing themselves this was at the time that William married Patricia and she took up the role of company secretary and became a director. During the 1980's William and Patricia saw the addition to the company of sons Michael and Jonathan taking up their positions as directors, hence the business is now well into the fourth generation.

Some of the modern motors
A. Abbott & Sons are independent family funeral directors, having their own service chapel, catering suite, and viewing chapels.

They also supply headstones, floral tributes, printing services, stationery and will also provide catering for funeral teas, either in the homes of the clients or in the catering suite on site at their premises in Bedford Road.

The catering suite has recently been re-named the 'Asher Suite' in memory of, and as a tribute to Mr. Asher Abbott the founder of the company.

Staff in 1980s Directors
The staff of A Abbott & Sons in the 1980s
The directors in the 1990s

A. Abbott & Sons have received awards over the years for their services to the public. They received an award from Northamptonshire Business Environment for improvement of the environment of Northamptonshire when the whole of the business site was renovated and all areas were made accessible to disabled.

They recently received an award from East Northants Council of five stars, which is the highest rating possible, for their food and hygiene. This is a side of the business which the public find of great help, and is taken up frequently.

Funeral planning makes up a very large part of the business. A. Abbott & Sons take instructions from members of the public who wish to pre-arrange their own funerals. A growing number of the public also wish to pre-plan and very importantly pre-pay for their funerals. A. Abbott and Sons have received National awards for their pre-planning advice and for their work with the public in this field.

In 2008 two satellite offices with chapels of rest were opened by the company. The first in Ringstead, and the second in Finedon. Work is now in progress to open the third office in Raunds.

The fleet of vehicles for the funeral cortege today, are mostly Mercedes, but Abbott & Sons have gone full circle, as now it is quite fashionable and not too infrequent for the public to request a beautiful team of shining black horses to pull the magnificent glass hearse.

Bringing the business right up to date was the introduction of a web site. This now means that bereaved families from all over the globe can get up-to-date information about registering a death, ordering floral tributes, details of all our services, and even checking a date of a funeral with a click of a button. Giftaid claim forms can also be downloaded which will enhance the monies donated by the public to good causes. More details can be viewed at

funeral hearse
Abbott's Funeral Carriage

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