Nick Duggan had his inspiration for a very Sheffield idea while walking in London.
There, he saw a capital fashionista wearing a T-shirt featuring a street sign for Portobello Road.
“And I thought ‘But we have better street names in Sheffield. You’d look better in a Hangingwater Road top, young man’.”
So he came home and, with time on his hands after his retirement, made some.
Now, two months later, the former Sheffield City Council education chief has found the tops have caused such a stir among friends, family and – that ultimate barometer of success – strangers in pubs, he’s eschewed the usual retirement hobbies of gardening and crosswords, and set up his own one-man business making and selling a whole range of the T-shirts.
“I’ve always loved the name Carsick Hill Road,” notes the 58-year-old today, as he dons one such top. “There’s not many of them in the world, are there? I was wearing one in The Rising Sun pub in Nether Green and there were eyes following me everywhere.
“One chap came up and asked where I got it. When I said I’d made it, he asked if I could do him one. That’s when I thought ‘there’s an opportunity here’.”
The £13 range – including Mushroom Lane, Button Hill, Freedom Road and Commonside – will, fittingly, be launched at a street market on June 30 at Crosspool Festival.
And Nick, of Sandygate Park Road, is now going further with a range of other products celebrating Sheffield, including framed cutlery, gift cards and, potentially, a Peak District gin.
“The cutlery idea came about because I don’t think, as a city, we celebrate that heritage enough,” he says. “Sheffield cutlery is a work of art – I have a fish knife at home which is beautiful – so I got some out the drawer at home and framed it, and I thought ‘Yeah, that doesn’t look too bad’.”
He’s scoured the Antiques Quarter and charity shops for more knives, forks and spoons and researched where they came from by using the hallmarks.
“Each framed piece, thus, comes with a piece of cutlery and a brief history of the company.
“I’m also thinking about making bilberry gin with bilberries picked in the Peaks,” says the father-of-two. “There’s a lot of regulations concerned with making and selling alcohol but it would go well with the range because it would be about celebrating Sheffield and how it has this great countryside on the doorstep.”
More about Nick’s business, On The Edge at www.ontheedgeproducts.co.uk.