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An East End Farewell


This is the memoir of an East End undertaker, Stan Cribb, who began his apprenticeship aged just fourteen, burying the victims of London's Blitz.

During the last century, East End households had a special relationship with their local undertakers due to the large families and high mortality rates. Since he can remember, Stan Harris (more commonly known as Stan Cribb), spent his weekends captivated by the goings-on at his grandparents' funeral home. At fourteen, and much to the reluctance of his father, he dons his first suit and joins the family business as an apprentice to his quick-tempered uncle.

Entering the profession at a time when an undertaker's role exposed them to the brutal realities of World War II, Stan spends his teenage years recovering dead bodies in the dark and standing guard over funeral carriages during air raids. After the war, with unfailing good humour, Stan takes us on a journey through his National Service, marriage, and unpredictable life as an East End undertaker.

Yvette Venables was born and brought up in the East End of London. Her friendship with Stan Cribb grew over many years from her childhood and on to adulthood after attending many family funerals. The idea of writing his memoir was born whilst they spent one lovely sunny afternoon chatting over a pot of tea and home-made cake. The rest, as they say, is history. Yvette has been married to Terry Venables for the past 24 years.