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Restorer vows to rise from the ashes after blaze destroys workshop

15 April 2013Written by ATG Reporter

When fire destroyed the workshop of Glyn Elias’ Dorking antiques shop he was so determined to carry on the business he had it open the very next day.

Family rallied round to help him tidy up and since the blaze on Friday, March 29, he has received support from many other dealers in the Surrey town. Now he has vowed not to let the incident stop him running Dorking Desk Shop and Elias Antiques.

"The showroom wasn't too badly affected, although there was a lot of smoke," said Glyn. "We cleaned that up and opened the showroom the day after. All my family came down in the early morning and we all cleaned it and the ceiling was still a bit black in places but I could only apologise for the smoke smell.

"One desk I was restoring for somebody and another from my own stock were both pretty badly damaged. One we think we can recover, the other we think is too far gone."

'Gut-Wrenching'

 But the fire, thought to have been started by a faulty TV set, destroyed the workshop at the back of the West Street premises and Glyn's collection of tools was ruined.

"It was really gut-wrenching because I've had those tools since I started 35 years ago - tools my grandparents gave me, so that's really sad," he said. "We are still trading, and will hopefully get the workshop back as soon as possible. We're using my other showrooms as a temporary workshop at the moment, keeping things ticking over because it's what we're relying on - trade is so quiet we're relying on private restorations.

"The other dealers in the street have been really kind. There are lots of antiques shops in the street and we all help each other. They have been very generous - other restorers particularly, lending me tools, polishes etc, so we are pretty much up and running.

"My brother started this business 40 years ago and I took over when he had a stroke ten years ago. It is one of the oldest established firms in the street so we don't want to give up, although it's tough - we'll pull through."

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