Poppy’s Sheen

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Funeral Directors Category: London

  • Poppy Mardall is the founder of this modern funeral company which has grown from humble beginnings to become a smart, contemporary business with a team of dedicated and passionate staff. We first met Poppy when she was researching the funeral world back in 2011 and it has been fascinating to watch her journey to where the company is today: as the founder of one of London’s leading progressive funeral directors.

    From the beginning Poppy’s has sought to be different; a modern and female-led independent funeral directors centred around outstanding care for both the living and dead, and doing the right thing by their clients, community and the environment.

    The business operates from the most beautiful premises, a lovely light Victorian building in the grounds of Lambeth Cemetery. A few steps away is one of the original chapels which now houses Poppy’s bespoke mortuary – unlike any other we have visited – and a small friends and family room where you can spend time with the person who d You can see how Poppy’s works and how their space looks in this short video.

    Everywhere in both buildings there is the same feeling of light and air; the meeting rooms are comfortable and stylishly furnished. Contemporary artwork is displayed on the walls, loaned from Sprout Arts, a community arts group showcasing local artists. The mortuary space is high ceilinged, with sunlight streaming in through the arched windows.

    The hardwood flooring complements the light wooden panelling on the walls left over from the days that this building was used for funeral ceremonies – there is no plastic flooring here. Large fridges across thebuilding offer refrigerated space for up to 36 people at a time and coffins are stored on neat racking.

    There is a spacious washing area where families or friends are welcome to come and help wash and dress their person ready for their funeral. If you are thinking of using Poppy’s, then we would urge you to ask to visit the mortuary – most people don’t, and the staff would love to be able to show them the space where people in their care are looked after – they are all proud of it.

    In January 2024, Poppy’s opened its second location in Sheen, south west London. With large windows, soft colours, good coffee and friendly faces, Poppy’s Sheen is designed to look attractive from the outside and help you to feel at ease from the moment you come in.

    Poppy’s will use this high street location to host community events and to welcome people dropping in or asking questions, whether or not they currently need to organise a funeral. The Sheen branch is managed by funeral director and celebrant Natalie Charles and the same Poppy’s team work smoothly across both sites. Everyone that Poppy’s cares for is looked after in their mortuary in Lambeth Cemetery, just a short journey from Poppy’s Sheen.

    As the business has grown it has needed to acquire a structure, and when we visited in 2020 it was clear that this is a solid, professional business growing on good foundations. Poppy herself is still involved in the business as founder and chair, ensuring that as Poppy’s grows it continues to live up to the values and standards she started.

    The day-to-day running of Poppy’s is overseen by Clare Montagu as CEO. Clare is supported by a close-knit team of highly skilled mortuary staff, funeral directors and client support advisors along with operational and marketing colleagues who provide compassionate and practical support every step of the way, seamlessly supporting clients throughout their contact with the company.

    Poppy’s want to make it easy for people to make sustainable funeral choices. They share details of their suppliers in their catalogue and provide advice on greener options. They are also working hard to shrink their own footprint, for example by using an electric vehicle for collections, replacing synthetics with natural calico when lining coffins and sourcing electricity from renewables.

    Poppy’s pride themselves on providing up-to-date, practical information on their website and Talking Death blog to help people make the funeral choices which are right for them.

    Poppy’s also offer free appointments to talk through your future funeral wishes with a member of their team, as an individual or as a group. This is not a financial funeral plan, but an opportunity to think ahead, ask questions and record your wishes to share with those close to you.

    Specific Gravity

    If you want a traditional style funeral with a black hearse and limousines then Poppy’s can do that. Or if you want a simpler version, with either the silver Ford Galaxy or lilac-coloured Mercedes Viano with a lovely handmade wooden deck), then that’s what you get. Or any variation in between. They will do whatever it is that you want. Their standard attire is either a smart plum coloured fleece with black trousers and shoes or black suits, though they will wear anything that a family wants them to. They’re very keen to encourage family involvement too – family members of any age are welcome to carry the coffin if they want to and are encouraged to do so.

    Poppy’s also offer direct cremation and simple cremation options for those who would prefer an unattended funeral. These services include the same outstanding care in their Lambeth mortuary and, in the case of a simple cremation, the opportunity to visit the person and have them dressed in clothes that you choose.

    What’s Important?

    Everyone at Poppy’s has the same passion for down to earth, personal, professional service for the families that choose them. Everyone utterly believes in giving families whatever they want or need from a funeral, and they pride themselves on giving honest, straightforward advice – as much or as little as is needed.

    Overridingly, Poppy and all her team believe in caring for the dead people in their charge with gentle, careful hands and looking after them as if their families were standing beside them. Each dead person is called by name, there is no ‘deceased’ at Poppy’s, nor is there any embalming. Although by special request, this can be arranged elsewhere. Simple, natural and caring, completely professional yet totally human, the Poppy’s team brings a refreshing new approach to funerals that attracts admiration and respect from all they encounter.

    What’s Different?

    Pretty much everything. The best way to see this is to look at their excellent website. If you like it, then Poppy’s is probably just right for you. If your reaction is different, then you’ll probably be better looking for another type of funeral director.

    Everyone at Poppy’s is very conscious that their way of approaching funerals is not for everyone and would be completely unfazed if a family decided not to use their service after meeting them. They positively encourage clients to be sure they are comfortable with the way they work, nothing worries them more than a family not being completely happy with the funeral arrangements. They are fiercely proud of what they do and conscious of how incredibly important it is to get everything right, every time. They would much rather you went somewhere else than stayed with them and weren’t happy.

    Poppy is very keen to spread the word about doing funerals differently, and takes education very seriously, providing myth busting / behind the scenes talks for local healthcare professionals or anyone else who is interested. All of the team are encouraged to do this outreach work.


    • Prices – useful estimator here
    • Your first call will be answered by one of the Client Support Advisors – or whoever is nearest the phone (or whoever is on call if after hours).
    • Home visits – Yes, totally happy to make arrangements either at your home or at their premises. Just tell them which you’d prefer. Arrangements can be made by video meeting rather than in person.
    • Family participation – Absolutely yes – this is positively encouraged. As much participation as you want. Poppy’s is experienced in planning funerals for LGBTQ+ clients, where who you are will be respected and celebrated. They also seek to listen to and meet any access needs.
    • Same sex person to wash and dress? Yes, no problem.
    • Embalming – There is no embalming at Poppy’s. Bodies are left in their natural state with no invasive procedures. However, they can arrange embalming elsewhere by special request.
    • Ethnic specialism Poppy’s support people from all faiths and backgrounds to create a funeral that’s right for them. This includes building relationships with community and faith leaders, providing a space for people to carry out last rites and enabling families to witness the charging at a cremation.
    • Home arranged funerals – Of course. Poppy’s are happy to act as a helping hand or consultant for families caring for their dead person at home and do so quite regularly.
    • Local celebrants – In their experience choosing a celebrant is a very personal choice so they might suggest several options and suggest the family call them to find someone they connect with.
    • Website – Superb. Good looking, reflecting completely the look, feel and values of the company. Prices clearly displayed.
    • Client support – Extremely good. E-mails and phone calls answered straight away, and for families needing a little more support the staff member looking after you will happily call you daily to make sure everything is proceeding as you want.
    • Money matters – Very good value. Starting costs for different options are clearly displayed on the first page of the estimator. There are no packages, so that you can choose only what’s right for you. There’s nothing hidden, and no up-selling. They provide only what you want and need and believe everyone has the right to an affordable funeral.
    • Parking – Absolutely loads of space to park at Poppy’s HQ and near their mortuary. As you drive in the gates to Lambeth Cemetery Poppy’s offices are in the gatehouse on the right, and there is free parking on the roads inside the grounds. There is some on-road parking near Poppy’s Sheen.



    This is a business with a huge heart. Not only do they give their clients unstinting support and encouragement, they truly believe that a meaningful, authentic, personal funeral has the power to change lives for the better, and they consider it their duty to try and achieve this for everyone that comes to them.

    Poppy Mardall has created a wonderful, ground-breaking new type of funeral directing in London, and her team of equally lovely people are passionately involved and completely devoted to what they are doing. Their aim is to change the world they operate in for the better, one funeral at a time. From what we saw, they are doing this every day. London is lucky to have them.

    Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.


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