Facing floods and flames in their furniture’s name...

Delivery? An early Ponsford van
Delivery? An early Ponsford van
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Flood, fire and furniture that needs sending back to the suppliers?

If you thought running a shop that sells tables and chairs, beds and bookshelves, was a genteel sort of way to make a living, you’d perhaps be right enough. But the Ponsford’s have had to overcome their fair share of minor catastrophes too down those 12 decades.

“Probably the worst was the fire in 1968,” says MD Adrian. “It was one Friday afternoon while we were open. It was caused by an electrical fault in an upstairs room but what I remember vividly is how quick it travelled through the shop. It was frightening. We tried fighting it but it was no good.

“The next morning I stood there amid £20,000 worth of destroyed furniture. That’s about £200,000 today. But what can you do? You roll your sleeves up and start again, and in the end the shop became better because we improved it too.”

The 2007 flood, meanwhile, submerged the cellar while the famous Sheffield Hurricane of 1963 took half the roof of the place off.

Now, they’re facing a man made problem: the recession. Less people buying houses means less people buying furniture.

“But we’ve been through worse than this,” says Adrian. “We have loyal customers, excellent staff and we’ll continue to thrive.”