Photo gallery: Bungay family business which created Del Boy’s coat closes its doors for good
- Credit: PA
An historic family business which opened in Bungay in the 19th century has marked the end of an era by finally closing its doors for good.
Nursey and Son, one of the country's oldest sheepskin specialists has been making luxurious garments since 1846 and was responsible for creating Del Boy Trotter's famous coat.
But it was forced to shut last Marsh after dwindling profits and a lack of interest from buyers.
The company reopened in October to sell off the remaining stock, but tomorrow marks the final day for perhaps the town's most iconic business.
Tim Nursey, managing director, who was handed down the company in the 1970s by his father Samuel Burton Nursey said a part of him couldn't believe it was closing.
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He said: 'I'm fully adjusted to it now. I had to really make the decision in my own mind. It is a time of change. In our heyday we supplied hundreds of men's outfitters and ladies dress shops across Britain and northern Europe. Most have shut down and that filtered down to us. Fashion is changing and the weather isn't as cold as it was.
'We did generate interest from five or six firms about buying the company but they were put off by the seasonality, the amount of money tied up in stock and the shrinking turnover.
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'We knew we hadn't made a profit for five or six years and they must have looked at us and realised if they were going to overcome that and expand the business they would need a huge amount of money.'
Nursey and Son used the highest quality toscana and merino lambskin as well as Italian leather to make coats, gilets, slippers, gloves and hats alongside many other products.
Their coats have attracted a number of celebrities purchases from the likes of Holly Willoughby and Eric Clapton.
The most famous sheepskin coat ever made was for actor David Jason, who wore one for his part in Only Fools and Horses and had another created for his private use.
Other highlights include a visit from Princess Anne in the 1990s, believed to be the only time a member of the royal family has visited a Bungay business and being named the Countryside Alliance's British champions in the traditional business category in 2010.
At its peak the company employed 85 people, but in the last three months only eight have remained.
Very little stock is left and Mr Nursey said there had been some interest in selling the brand name for exclusivity in Japan.
He said: 'The last eight of us played football and cricket together when we were young, several people had been with us for 40 years, we had all been young together and we had all got older. Hopefully everybody who worked for us will think of the happy decades we had rather than the last three years. Everybody has been paid and treated correctly.'
Although Mr Nursey will semi retire Nursey and Son will remain in the town as he is planning to launch a property rental company letting warehouse and office space in the building.
He said: 'The name Nursey and Son will continue in the town hopefully for generations. People have been very kind, many were initially shocked and sad to see us closing. To come to a shop where nearly everything was made on the premises is extremely rare.
'We did everything humanly possible to keep the firm going, there are some happy memories. I want to say a huge thanks to our past customers and staff who have made this little company special.'
The bike Mr Nursey is pictured on has been used by the company since the 1950s. The trade bike would have been used to ferry deliveries around the towns and villages. Mr Nursey is hoping that the National Bicycle Museum in Birmingham may show an interest in housing the bike for others to admire.