Denis Hartley founded the company in 1972. On leaving school in 1938, he became a joiner with Colne Co-op and later moved to Grocery Manager's office on Linden Road, Colne. He took over from Teddy Maxwell as the undertaker in 1959; working out of the purpose-built premises on Keighley Road close to the Colne cemetery, where he became a well-known local figure in his home town.
In 1984, Denis and his son, Shaun, moved the business the current premises in Colne known as Crown Garage on Back Brown Street. The building was previously owned by Bracewells Coach and Limousine Hire, a former coaching house for the Crown Hotel in Albert Road. Although now covered, the building once had an open courtyard with a carriage shed on one side and stables and hay loft on the other.
Since the turn of the century, it has been used by Bracewells as the Crown Livery Stables, Colne, housing the dray horses for the brewery, and later for the hire of coaches and limousines.
In 1988, major refurbishments were undertaken to create a beautiful mahogany panelled office and chapel of rest but still maintaining some of its character with its cobbled courtyard and stone water trough.
The premises today has a reception area, modern chapel of rest and a private family-viewing room giving bereaved families a cosy and intimate atmosphere to pay their last respects and say farewell to their loved ones. Following his death in 2001, Shaun and his wife Susan have taken over the family business.