Halfway up Rutland Road stands Norton Kitchen showrooms; according to proprietor Marion Sayles, “the last of the old Sheffield firms”.
Founded in 1844 in Queen Street to offer water pipe and gas fitting when Sheffield was the first city with gas street lighting, it served breweries and churches amongst others. They moved to Solly Street in the 1970s and to their current premises three years ago.
With bigger show room space on a busy road and more room for car parking, “the move has seen a big improvement in business”, says Marion. Greeting you as you enter is a stunning array of multi-coloured Aga, Rayburn and Redfyre range cookers of all shapes and sizes, with a new range of solid fuel fires also on display. Upstairs are kitchen and bathroom showrooms.
Popular cookery demonstrations attended by up to 50 participants regularly take place, the next in November and December will be Christmas themed.
Though the majority of cookers sold are gas, electric or oil fired, Marion told me:
“40% of Rayburn cookers being sold now are wood/solid fuel burning and it’s increasing. Sixteen staff install and maintain solid-fuel burning cookers in an area stretching from Chesterfield to Doncaster and Hope Valley to Retford.”
It’s ironic that though the central government is encouraging the use of wood as a carbon neutral fuel, costing less than 50% of fossil fuels, in Sheffield the clean air act still prevents wood being burned in most appliances.