Our 100 Years
1918 – 1938: The Early Years
In 1918, after completing his apprenticeship with John Hanna and Company, funeral undertakers and building contractors, Samuel Clarke founded his own business at premises in Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
He met local girl, Minnie and they got married in 1925 and she joined him in the family business doing the book–keeping. Samuel built a house for him and his new wife in Upper Greenwell Street (beside where the shops are today).
The happy couple were overjoyed when a son, John, was born in 1926.
In 1938, due to business growing, larger premises in Movilla Street were purchased, with space for a joinery workshop, timber store, stabling for four horses which later became garaging for vehicles. As was common practice until recent years, the family moved into the house adjoined the business premises. Young John when not playing in the yard, helped his parents in the firm from an early age.
Samuel took a radical step and bought a motorised Dodge hearse in 1929. This ‘modern contraption’ was the talk of the town as it was a first for Newtownards!