Who are F.A. Albins & Sons?
F.A. Albin & Sons have been Funeral Directors for over 200 years, remaining a family business throughout and providing a level of service and personal care, respect and dignity only to be expected from a company with such a proud record.
Albins’ head office is situated in Bermondsey, London SE16. With branches in Deptford, Mottingham, Barking, Sidcup, Welling and Walworth we are able to serve families on a much wider scale. We have, on occasions, completed funerals in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even overseas. Throughout our time serving the community we have always tried to uphold the traditions of those that have passed before us, but have never been slow to recognise the need for change and act upon it.
We can trace the Albin history back over two hundred years, when the family were wardens of a local cemetery. In these very early days bodies were moved by hand carts.
Albins opened their first funeral parlour in Snowsfield, Bermondsey in close proximity to the new St. Thomas’ Hospital. The horses were stabled in Fendal Street, Bermondsey and new shop premises were opened at 62 Jamaica Road, Bermondsey (where Barry grew up).
By the early 1950’s, the company had acquired a fleet of motorised funeral vehicles. The first vehicles were bull-nosed Daimlers and Rolls Royce Hearses and limousines. One of our original hearses is still used to this day.
In 1974 the company moved to its current premises in Culling Road, SE16 under the stewardship of Fred Albin. Barry and his young family lived above the premises.
Barry took the business over from Fred Albin in 1986 and today we have a network of branches covering South East London and Kent and operate a fleet of the most up to date Daimler vehicles.
Barry Albin-Dyer (1951-2015)
Barry Albin-Dyer sadly passed away aged 64 following a brain tumour which was diagnosed in July 2013. Barry was for 30 years the chairman of F A Albin & Sons.
Clad in immaculate top hat and undertaker’s frock-coat and brandishing a cane, Barry was a familiar sight at Bermondsey funerals, as well as at Wootton Bassett (and later Brize Norton), leading the cortege in the tradition known as “paging”.
Barry was born in south London on February 2 1951. His father George was an undertaker. Life revolved around the work; the family lived above the shop and Barry’s mother helped with the administration. At seven, Barry was given the job of polishing the brass plaque on the door and cleaning the fire grate. “I grew up with coffins in the corner,” he recalled later. “My dad was very clever. He never closed any doors so I could go anywhere. I wasn’t afraid of it. He was educated at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe, becoming head boy. When he was 17 his mother died of cancer and he credited this early loss with helping him to understand grief. She was looked after in her final months by the local nuns, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Their example of self-sacrificing kindness profoundly affected Barry, leading eventually to his converting to Roman Catholicism. Having gone straight into the business, by his mid-thirties he had taken over FA Albin & Sons from his father and his uncle, Fred Albin. He transformed the firm, which was nearly 200 years old, into a bigger operation employing some 50 people, compared with a third of that number when he started. He was not afraid to move into novel territory, offering customers the option, for example, of having their bodies cryogenically frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored in a facility in Michigan, until such time as medical technology might be able to revive them.
Bermondsey was becoming increasingly multicultural during this period, and Barry was adept at cementing alliances with people of varied faiths, such as the Iranians, who grew to value his professionalism as well as the sense of solemnity without mawkishness with which obsequies were conducted.
As a community-minded figure, Barry would help local people whenever he could. In 1998 the Southwark News was at risk of going under, and he stepped in to secure the finances of the paper and back the young journalists who were struggling to keep it afloat.
He wrote three volumes of memoirs – Don’t Drop the Coffin!, Bury My Heart in Bermondsey and Strong Shoulders – and appeared in a television documentary, also called Don’t Drop the Coffin. Barry’s public roles included the presidency of the International Funeral Directors’ Association. He was appointed OBE in 2010 for his work repatriating British troops. He was a revered figure in Bermondsey and in 2012 was made a deputy lieutenant for Greater London; that year he was also honoured for Lifetime Achievement at the Good Funeral Awards.
Barry Albin-Dyer, born February 2 1951, died June 6 2015
Albins have a large archive of photographic, video and printed materials some of which can be accessed through the following links.
Rest in Peace
2nd February 1951 - 6th June 2015
Branch Manager Welling
Branch Manager Walworth
Branch Manager Sidcup
Branch Manager Deptford
Branch Manager Albin & Hitchcock
Masonry and Memorials Manager
Branch Manager Mottingham
Conductor / Funeral Arranger
Memorial Garden Manager
PA to the Directors
Albin International Mission Statement
Albin International Repatriation Ltd is an international funeral director committed to providing unique service around the World looking after the deceased and their families with the utmost professionalism, dignity and respect. We are committed to implement our social responsibility project according to the objectives set by the United Nations Global Compact and will strive to exceed their principles. It is our aim to be the shoulder that everyone can rely on in their time of need”
Albin International Corporate Social Responsibility Project
It is an old tradition in the United Kingdom to carry the coffin on the shoulders. This represents the profound respect for the deceased on their last journey. It also represents the love, care and dignity dedicated to those who have died. This has been our goal from the very beginning, and we have chosen the theme “On our Shoulders” to represent it throughout our work and our corporate social responsibility project.
Albins supports many charities including local hospices, bereavement groups and children charities. We also assist families who wish for donations to be made in place of floral tributes by collecting and forwarding donations on their behalf.
We also support the Albin Dyer Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Foundation, for the relief of local people and causes. This charity has provided a mini-bus to a local club, assisted with the provision of disabled ramps and access, and has provided numerous scholarships and sponsorships to local worthy causes.
Albins is particulary privileged to be associated with the following charities:
Child Bereavement UK
Child Bereavement UK is a charity that supports families and educates professionals both when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Every year the charity delivers training, across a breadth of issues, to around 5,000 professionals at the front line of bereavement support.
The Saunderton Estate, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Bucks,P14 4BF
Tel: 01494 568900 - www.childbereavement.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 1040419
The AD Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Foundation
52 Culling Road, London SE16 2TN
Tel: 020 7237 3637 Fax: 020 7252 3205
Registered Charity Number 1067137
The Evelina Children’s Hospital Appeal
First floor, West Wing, Counting House, Guy’s Hospital
London SE1 9RT - Tel: 020 7188 1196 - www.gsttcharity.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 251983-21
UK Homes 4 Heroes Pride and Passion
52 Culling Road, London SE16 2TN
Tel: 020 7237 3637 Fax: 020 7252 3205
Registered Charity Number 1610316
Mission Statement / Charities
Albins operate a fleet of the most prestigious Jaguar Daimler limousines and hearses. All of our funeral vehicles carry our distinctive traditional livery of black and burgundy paintwork.
Albins has most recently acquired a modern Land Rover Hearse and four matching Range Rover saloon vehicles to enhance the options available to our customers. The vehicles are all equipped to the highest standard.
Albins also operate a fleet of private ambulances.
Albins vintage hearse and horse-drawn hearses can still be seen to this day, upholding the traditions of the generations passed.
The Albin Museum
The Albin Museum was opened by HRH Princess Anne in December 2009. The Museum contains over 200 photographs, images, artefacts and memorabilia.
The displays reflect not only Albin history but also provide a fascinating and interesting insight into the traditions of funerals generally and how these have developed over the years. The Museum is located at head office in Culling Road. Viewing will be by appointment. Should you wish to visit the Museum please contact us to register your interest.