End of an era as Bungay firm which made Del Boy’s famous sheepskin coat shuts after 168 years
06:30 21 March 2014
After 168 years of trading, a family-run business which was responsible for creating Del Boy Trotter’s famous sheepskin coat, has closed its doors for the final time.
For five generations Nursey of Bungay has been making leather and sheepskin clothes, attracting celebrity buyers such as The Only Fools and Horses star David Jason and musician Eric Clapton – who sketched his own design on the back of an envelope.
However the factory in Upper Olland Street closed for the last time on Wednesday, with current managing director Tim Nursey confirming that a buyer had not been found to take over the business and that the closure had resulted in seven people losing their jobs.
Mr Nursey, who had the business handed down to him by his father in the 1970s, announced last month that he was in talks with potential buyers, and said that, although it was a difficult decision to make, they had not made a profit for a number of years.
Speaking this week, he said the Nursey family and staff would like to thank the huge number of people who expressed their shock and sadness at the news, and thank them for their custom over many years. He added: “The shop in Bungay will remain open for trading until Saturday, March 29, giving our loyal and local customers an opportunity to still purchase our goods.”
Nurseys have been hand-making clothes in Bungay since 1846 and the company was originally set up by Mr Nursey’s great, great, great, great grandfather. The company used the highest quality Toscana and Merino lambskin as well as Italian leather, which was turned into coats, slippers, gilets, gloves, hats and many other products by the workshop’s team of expert seamstresses and cutters – many whom had been with the company for more than 25 years.
Mr Nursey said it is now hoped that the brand name will be sold to another British-based business.
He also plans to reopen the shop in mid October to sell off his remaining stock.
The Three Rivers Talking Newspaper for the blind is desperately seeking a new home after the closure of Nurseys.
The newspaper, which uses the Journal as its principal source of local news, is currently produced from two rooms at the sheepskin factory but now volunteers have been given four to five weeks to find a new home.
David Wuyts, one of the founders of the newspaper, said they needed two rooms every Friday afternoon and evening in the Bungay or Beccles area.
Anyone who can help should contact Mr Wuyts on 01986 896778.