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
"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
"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."
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
"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
"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."