End of an era as fam­ily firm shuts up shop

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

ASTEEL firm which has been serv­ing the com­mu­nity for al­most 200 years is shut­ting up shop.

A steel sup­pli­ers has been based at Great King Street in Mac­cles­field since it at least 1823.

But own­ers Barry and Eileen Kenyon, who have run Wil­liam Kenyon steel sup­pli­ers for the past 40 years, have de­cided to call it a day, bring­ing an end to the steel legacy at the site.

The Kenyon name has been at­tached to the busi­ness since Barry’s gran­dad Wil­liam, who was born in 1846, went into part­ner­ship at a firm al­ready at the site. The busi­ness passed from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion and has built up a loyal fol­low­ing of cus- tomers.

They sup­ply builders, roofers and farm­ers with items in­clud­ing cor­ru­gated sheets, barbed wire, net­ting and fence posts and cus­tomers in the shop can buy things like tools, gates, hinges and saws.

Barry and Eileen are still rushed off their feet with cus­tomers, but with no chil­dren to pass on the busi­ness, have de­cided to re­tire.

Barry, 61, said: “We have a big steel ware­house and a shop for the pub­lic and builders.

“We’ve done a lot of dif­fer­ent work over the years. We started as a nail makers in wrought iron work­ing with the Watts foundry on Cather­ine Street and made things like hoops for beer bar­rels and wheels. We’ve made gates and rail­ings and done some struc­tural work. We don’t have chil­dren so there is no-one to take over the busi­ness and we don’t want to sell on the name so we de­cided to close.”

Wil­liam Kenyon had eight chil­dren and his third old­est son Her­bert and youngest Al­bert man­aged the firm af­ter he died in 1908, aged 62. Al­bert was fa­ther to Ron and Garnet, Barry’s dad, who took over in 1948.

In the early days the steel was trans­ported by horse and cart, with Joseph Warhurst work­ing with horses Bon­nie and Prince, and later Cap­tain and Ma­jor. Joseph took great pride in his horses and Cap­tain won prizes in RSPCA pa­rades through Mac­cles­field.

Joseph saved the horses from a fire in around 1924 and they worked un­til the Sec­ond World War when they were re­placed with a Ford van and trailer.

Barry, who took over when his dad and un­cle re­tired, said: “It will be strange when we close be­cause the shop is some­thing I’ve al­ways known but we work long hours and it just won’t work part time. It’s bit­ter sweet clos­ing af­ter all th­ese years but it’s time to go.”

Sean Hans­ford

●● Barry and Eileen Kenyon are re­tir­ing and shut­ting the fam­ily’s his­toric steel busi­ness

●● A pic­ture from the com­pany’s ar­chives, show­ing the days when goods were de­liv­ered around Mac­cles­field and sur­round­ing ar­eas by horse

●● Wil­liam Kenyon Ltd has been in busi­ness in Mac­cles­field for 200 years

●● Horse Prince used to pro­vide the mus­cle power be­fore the mo­tor era

●● An in­voice from 1936

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