Looking back at lost Sheffield manufacturers

Here's the second part of local historian Syd Bullen’s story of the Sheffield three-piece suite manufacturing industry – including a surprise guest appearance from pop star Frankie Vaughan!

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 1:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 1:48 pm
A two-year Atkin and Ansell manufacture'rs guarantee ticket from 1967

The story continues here:

The Scott Duride Green Lane Works occupied the building that was built by Henry Hoole and Sons, the award-winning fire grate and fender manufacturer.

Frankie Vaughan officially opening Double 6 youth club in Woodseats

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At some point the building had also been occupied by the Tyzack manufacturing company.  

Scott's traded with the name of Ascot Upholstery, their advertising motto being 'First To Get Home ' with the design of a racehorse passing the winning post painted on the sides of their delivery vans and letter heads.

This unionised firm was the largest employer of upholsterers in Sheffield with around 40 piecework tradesmen, plus an apprentice upholsterer's training department run by foreman Albert Merrill.

It also had a furniture development department run by Sam Bronks.

The Green Lane Works gateway, pictured in 2004

One of the coverings for three-piece suites from the 50s through to the 70s was Nappatex, the forerunner of expanded vinyl.

It was a thin plastic type of material that became very stiff in cold weather, so the upholsterers at Scott's had to lay it on the hot cast iron pipes that ran round the walls supplying the heating system until it became pliable then rush to fit it on to the chair or settee they were working on before it cooled and became stiff and unworkable again.

The father of top 20 chart recording artist, TV and cabaret entertainer Frankie Vaughan, was upholsterer Frank Abelson.

For a period he worked at Scott's as upholstery shop foreman.

He lived in Leeds, working at the firm Monday to Friday then going back home for the weekend.

He would give out complimentary tickets to the upholsterers to see his son’s shows.

Scott Duride Ltd ceased trading in 1976.

Following the closure of some of these factories, quite a few of their ex-upholsterers took to self-employment, some sub-contracting at small reupholstery firms, others establishing one- or two-man reupholstery businesses.  

Some of these businesses are still trading today.

*Do you have memories of working for the companies mentioned by Syd? Or perhaps you have a photograph of the Ascot racehorse design? Get in touch with Retro.