'The Coco Chanel of Sharrow Vale Road' - Owner of popular vintage shop in Sheffield dies aged 92

The owner of a long running and popular vintage shop in Sheffield has died at the age of 92.

Monday, 25th June 2018, 5:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 12:43 pm
Betty Nash opened The Front Parlour on Sharrow Vale Road in 1979

Helen 'Betty' Nash, the owner of The Front Parlour on Sharrow Vale Road, was known to many for her 'elegant and effortless' dress sense, but she was a determined woman who had faced numerous struggles throughout her life.

Born in Ranmoor in 1926, her father was the chauffeur and gardener to Lord and Lady Clifford at Clifford House, before he was promoted to head park keeper at Chelsea Park, and then to head park keeper at Weston Park.

Betty, pictured far right, with the Land Army girls in the 1940s

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It was here where seemingly her love of the finer things grew, and she moved to the then, Weston Park Lodge with her family on the night of the Sheffield Blitz, where by the end of the night all the windows had been blown through.

Known as Betty, she had to deal with illness as a child, and left school at age 14 before later working in a grocery shop on Sharrow Vale Road.

However when she was 16, she joined the Land Army in Worcestershire where she met her husband of 54 years Lawrence, with whom she married at St John's Church in Ranmoor and had three children, Christopher, now 65, Martin, 57 and Jane, 53.

But it was her determined nature that led the couple back to Sheffield as Jane said: "She told my Dad, if you want me you've got to come to Sheffield."

Betty and her husband Lawrence on their wedding day at St John's Church in Ranmoor, 12th April 1948

Christopher added: "She was a very determined lady, once she set her mind on something that was it.

"She was fiercely proud of Sheffield. She would always argue the advantages of Sheffield and defend it against anybody."

She grew a love for antiques fairs and flea markets, and the family would load the car for a long day travelling up and down the country to sell their finds.

However, her dream had always been to own a shop, and in 1969 she first opened Young Toggs on Hickmott Road, but she later sold the business.

Betty, Lawrence, Jane, Martin and Chris in March 1980

Her dream was then reborn when, in 1979, The Front Parlour opened, originally selling glassware.

Around a year after it opened, the shop was struggling so Betty turned out her wardrobe and found a pair of stiletto heels from the 1950s or 60s.

After selling the pair, customers were asking for more clothing and shoes, so the business grew from there.

In 1981 Jane the joined the business, on hand to wash, up-cycle and restore many items

Betty Nash was well known for her 'elegant and effortless' way of dress

Betty was always busy, as Martin said: "Unless she had a job she would worry. She worked 12 hours everyday. She re-used everything, because she was from the war generation so that's what they did, never chucked anything away."

Described as an 'institution' Betty was diagnosed with bone cancer four years ago, but decided not to receive treatment. Jane said: "The doctor told her and she said 'I don't care what I've got I'll take it with me."

She later retired from the shop five years ago, leaving Jane to carry on the business.

However Betty continued her love of clothes and could always been seen wearing pearl earrings, and was described by many as the 'Coco Chanel of Sharrow Vale Road'.

Betty will be buried at Crookes Cemetery, with a short graveside service starting at 11:30am on Thursday 5 July. A thanksgiving service will then be held at Banner Cross Methodist Church at 12:15pm, before moving on to Otto's on Sharrow Vale Road.

Donations are welcome, with all money going towards Prior Bank Care Home, where Betty happily spent the last three months of her life.