Northampton ironmonger twins to close up shop after 48 years

Max and John Slatter outside their father's shop. "Half the sign is missing. Storm Doris blew the 'sons' off."

Max and John Slatter outside their father's shop. "Half the sign is missing. Storm Doris blew the 'sons' off."

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Two brothers behind one of the oldest ironmongers in Northampton have decided to hang up their welding masks for good.

Twins Max and John Slatter are closing shop at Slatter & Sons ironmongers after working there for 48 years.

The Slatter Boys, aged 18, when the first started work at the ironmongers.

The Slatter Boys, aged 18, when the first started work at the ironmongers.

Max said: “We did the gates for the crematorium in Milton Malsor. We like to think when we go, we’ll pass through our own gates.”

The 62-year-old brothers’ wrought-iron gates can be seen across Northampton, including at the Holy Sepulchre Church in Sheep Street and the All Saints Church in Earls Barton.

Their father opened the workshop in Spencer Bridge Road in 1958 and employed his sons when aged 15.

“We asked him after four years if we would ever get a holiday. He replied with ‘I don’t pay you enough to get holidays’.

Max and John Slatter, both 67, are retiring after working in the shop for 48 years.

Max and John Slatter, both 67, are retiring after working in the shop for 48 years.

“One of the best jobs we ever did was a safety rail for the Watney Manns brewery narrowboat. They would bring us a bucket of beer every day.

“We had to install a lot of fire escapes on the sides of buildings. We used to have a beer for Dutch courage as we didn’t have scaffolding then.

Slatter & Sons will close its doors in early May.

Max added: “It’s been a good life. The work’s enjoyable but the heavy-lifting gets harder as you get older.

"We didn't have scaffolding back in the day."

"We didn't have scaffolding back in the day."

“We’ve educated our children so they don’t have to do this sort of work. We’ve got on with it, but it doesn’t pay well.

“The industry has gone from Northampton. But unlike Timkin and the Shoe & Boot quarter, we’ve at least had the choice to close.”

The brothers plan to enjoy their retirement with their grandchildren and keep their hands busy fixing classic sports cars and tractors.

John Slatter working on one of his last gates in the workshop.

John Slatter working on one of his last gates in the workshop.

Slatter and Sons ironmongers in Spencer Bridge Road.

Slatter and Sons ironmongers in Spencer Bridge Road.