End of an era as family firm shuts up shop
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.”
●● 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