I was interested to read Maureen Keeton’s letter on Monday, May 29 in The Star. You say you worked at Wm. Grant & Sons ‘some years ago’, I wonder how long ago that really was? My father was William (Bill) Crookes, a hand grinder with Billy Hogg and Bob Pickering, (he had been their apprentice), Little Mesters of course who were ‘self-employed’ buying their own grinding wheels and paying rent for their working space.
My dad died in 1968 with silicosis, (iron filings on the lungs – a hazard of the job of course), but I well remember the work outings, (through the Mersey Tunnel when it had just been opened), and the booze loaded in the back.
Mr Arnie and Mr Cyril were always there, jovial and paternalistic.
There was a patent on the edge for 25 years and all was well but once it lapsed then there were copies. Some even put the ‘edge’ in the middle of the knife now and I cannot understand the thinking behind this.
My dad was very dismissive of Viners’ cutlery saying it was ‘just stamped out like pastry’. I have never dared purchase such knives or dad would roll in his grave.
All my knives are Granton-edged. I even had a Granton-edged fruit knife which they took away from me at Adelaide Airport recently as it was an ‘offensive weapon’. I had carried this successfully for several years to and from Australia and was sad to lose it.
Needless to say they are still all very sharp as they are sharpened on a steel – which I do very slowly – my father was an expert at that and so fast. I have some butcher’s knives and other professional knives wrapped in a newspaper dated 1960s and I cannot give them away as they have wooden handles and butchers etc are not allowed to use them. They all agree they are a work of art but cannot touch them.
I remember visiting my father when I was a child, (I was born in 1943), and him proudly taking me around the works to visit the buffer girls, with their brown paper pinnies and the shop with the leather wheels for buffing up the knives. I remember Joe Wragg in there.
Just wondered if you had any of these memories? I now live in Doncaster and we are happy taking The Star as we used to live in Sheffield of course and love to keep up with the news.
Best wishes and thanks for the memories and the plug for Sheffield Granton knives!
Chris Burley (Mrs)
Melton Road, Sprotbrough, Doncaster, DN5