The Early Years
1918: Samuel Clarke completed an apprenticeship with John Hanna and Company, funeral undertakers and building contractors. After this he founded his own business in Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
1920’s: The young entrepreneur worked hard to develop his small business. He excelled at everything he turned his hand to and bought horses, stabling them in Greenwell Street.
1925: After meeting local girl, Minnie, they got married and she joined the 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).
1926: The happy couple were overjoyed when a son, John, was born.
1929: Samuel took a radical step and bought a motorised hearse. This ‘modern contraption’ was the talk of the town as it was a first for Newtownards!
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 lived beside the business premises. Young John when not playing in the yard, helped his parents in the firm from an early age.