Heathfield Ironmongers celebrate their 100 year anniversary!
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Heathfield Ironmongers on Heathfield High St, to mark this milestone in the first week of July you will see some amazing competitions and offers in store.
Over a 100 years ago, before World War 1, a Hailsham based ironmongery company called A.F. Smith, opened the original shop in Heathfield. By the 1st July 1919 the business had evolved to become Heathfield Agricultural and General Ironmongers Limited and in September 1919 it was renamed Heathfield Ironmongers Limited therefore, hence the Centenary this year.
A potted history
In its lifetime the shop has had seven managers,the first being Mr William Phillips who managed from 1919 to 1974. The business that Mr Phillips managed was more extensive than it is today. As well as the shop he also managed various buildings at the rear known as ‘The Sheds’.The Sheds comprised of many different parts of the Heathfield Ironmongers business, There was Plumbing which included the installation and servicing of boilers and pipework, this continued until the 1960s. There was also a Glaziers, Window-making and a Key Cutting Service. A Farrier who shod the many local horses and a Blacksmith who made items of ironwork including the beautiful gates at Hadlow Down Church. It is believed that the Blacksmiths was phased out in 1940s, after the Second World War.
The plumbers continued to have a trade counter, lawn mowers were repaired and a concrete mixer was hired out! During 1957 Heathfield Ironmongers developed Kent and Sussex Fuels which supplied heating oil to businesses and the general public. The trade counters finally closed in September 1993, the land was sold and developed into what is now the Co-op Car Park which opened in March 1995, behind our existing shop.
For many years Heathfield Ironmongers and Kent and Sussex Fuels displayed and demonstrated BBQs at the Heathfield Agricultural Show. Kent and Sussex Fuels also presented a cup for ”Champion Ploughman. Reversable Plough’ from 1970 to 1989. Kent and Sussex Fuels was finally sold in 1996.
The Heathfield Ironmongers shop didn’t stand still, it continued to be re-fitted and developed into the shop that it is today today, and there were some interesting or memorable events along the way.
The first ever January Sale was in January 1969 and continues to be a firm favourite with their customers today.
In 1970 the shop had to purchase new tills and adding machines for the advent of Decimalisation, when the old pounds, shillings and pence were taken out of circulation.
Fashionable 1970’s Fondue
To enhance sales and to develop interest in new products for customers, the shop held a’ Fondue Demonstration’ with a professional chef during the Christmas of 1978. A time when fondues were all the rage!
The first female manager
After working in the shop for 10 years, Clare Smith, in 2010, was employed as the first female manager. She is still very busy keeping Heathfield Ironmongers a strong presence in the High Street today .
“Also during the research for our Centenary many little anecdotes have come to light such as,1977 the Manager at the time, Mr Dabson found the first wages book for 1919, with the following extract: W E Phillips then aged 32 joined the company and was paid 10d (old pence) an hour, his weekly wage was just over £2. ” commented Clare, Manager.
During the 100 years of trading, Heathfield Ironmongers have employed over 272 employees and there have been many other people behind the scenes involved in helping the shop reach this significant anniversary. The shop is a thriving business that still supplies a vast range of products for the home and garden. Clare asked their suppliers to help celebrate the 100 years by giving an item which would go to make up an incredible prize of 100 items to be won by one lucky customer. See how you could win below.
Competitions and celebrations
The big week is 1-6 July, not only is there a 10% discount all week, but you will get a chance to win one of two amazing prizes – £100 voucher or Hardware Heaven – 100 items from the shop’s many suppliers in one big haul. To qualify for a Prize Draw ticket you need to spend a minimum of £15 in store (excluding discount).