Five generations of our family

Five Generations of WS Cole & Son

We’re very proud of the fact that we are a family-run business – now in the fifth generation of the Cole family – and a completely independent company. As a funeral director, it is a privilege to stand in a sensitive position at a crucial time knowing that the quality of our service and reputation will help you through this, the most difficult time of your lives.

William J Cole moved to St Nicholas-at-Wade with his wife Charlotte in 1891 and purchased a local funeral and building business from the widow of the former owner Jonathan Grant.

The business had been run by the late Jonathan Grant and his predecessors for the past 200 years looking after the village and surrounding area. William J Cole continued the business in the same way and soon his sons William and Edgar became involved.

Edgar continued at St Nicholas-at-Wade with the funeral and building business until his early death in 1939. Many old ledgers still exist in the business’s archives, and provide a fascinating insight into the past.

In 1914 William Stephen Cole and Amy his wife moved to the neighbouring village of Monkton where he continued the funeral business his father had begun.

Eventually all the funeral work was transferred Monkton. It was the need for carpenters to make coffins that led to the old tradition of building and funeral businesses often running alongside each other. This tradition still lives on at W.S. Cole & Son, although today coffins come to us ready made leaving only the furnishings and trimmings to be fitted.

William J Cole

William J Cole

After an apprenticeship at Queensborough docks, William J Moved to St Nicholas at Wade and purchased the Funeral and building business which he continued until his death in 1937.
William S Cole

William S Cole

Learning his carpentry and wheelwright skills from his father, William S Moved to Monkton in 1910 as both builder and undertaker to Thanet villages and surrounding area until his death in 1965.
Bernard Cole

Bernard J Cole

On completing his education at school, Bernard completed his apprenticeship as a bricklayer before joining the family business. During the war he served in the RAF as an air frame mechanic and undertook duties in India and the Far East with the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. He continued the family business until his death in 2003. The last funeral he directed was just six days before he died.
Jonathan Cole

Jonathan S Cole

At the age of fifteen, Jonathan commenced working in the business. His father insisted he had a trade and after a five-year apprenticeship, qualified as a master plumber. As fewer building projects were taken on, funerals became the mainstay of the business. Jonathan, now Company Director, built new premises and the company moved to Minster in 2007. With over fifty years’ experience in the funeral business he has seen many changes but continues to ensure that the individual needs of every family are met.
Christopher Cole

Christopher Cole

On leaving college after completing a business studies course, Jonathan’s son, Christopher became the fifth generation involved in the family business. With over 25 years’ experience his role includes every aspect of funeral work with particular responsibility for vehicles and premises.

In 2008 Jonathan built new premises on the site acquired by his grandfather in Minster in the 1930’s.

Today, working alongside his wife Nicolette,  Jonathan continues to operate the business from these purpose built premises in the heart of the community that has been served by five generations of the Cole family.