End of an era for Bedlington hardware shop
A hard-working shopkeeper is to hang up her apron after more than six decades working in the same hardware shop.
Great grandmother Joan Muter, 84, from East Sleekburn, is reluctantly closing the door on R & L Keenleysides in Bedlington Station.
The hardware shop has been full of not only tools, timber and ironmongery, but also tradition, history and Joan herself.
Morris Muter, Joan’s late husband, started helping out Bob Keenleyside with joinery work for his customers in the late 1950’s at his small shop in Station Street. Once their family were of school age, Joan also helped out in the shop on a Saturday.
In 1965 Morris and Joan took over the hardware, tools glass and timber shop from Mr Keenleyside.
The next four decades saw growth and expansion for the business resulting in a move to larger premises next door, a transformation from a small DIY shop to a builders’ merchants, and the employment of a large number of Bedlington workers.
Keenleysides opened another branch in Front Street, Bedlington, in the early 80s and expanded again in 1988.
The shop will close for the final time at the end of the month. A small exhibition of photographs will be on display in the shop window.
Joan said: “I will miss the shop, our staff and all of our loyal customers. I’d sincerely like to thank all of the dedicated staff who have been employed over the past 60 years and our loyal customers who have supported the business.”
Daughter Lyn Binks said: “Mum has put her life into this shop and into Bedlington Station too.
“It’s now time for her to relax and spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“She has lots of tales to tell of life in the shop and her dedication and work ethos has made everyone in the family what we are today.
“She really does deserve to take her retirement.”
Keenleysides is an institution and a part of Bedlington Station’s history.
Today, customers who were young children in the 1960s still use the shop and recall tales of their times as children growing up in the town.