‘That’s modern technology for you,’ I overheard a man say, as I walked past the confetti in the gutter.
I was on my way to the closing down sale of Ernest Wright & Son.
I suspect the owners of this handcrafted scissor factory wouldn’t have known an online marketing campaign if it had slapped them round the face like a fish in batter. Yet they’d managed to go viral, exploding into people’s consciousness thanks to Youtube video, The Putter. It’s no small irony that the filmmaker died two years ago.
As a crowd of us gathered at the locked door, early morning sun was already burning through a cloudless sky. Conversation was muted.
This is old school Sheffield. A city centre that has weathered the Industrial Revolution.
Then the doors opened and I felt as though I was stepping through a portal. I was. It’s not often you get to witness a piece of history dissolving before your eyes.
These are fetlock scissors, for trimming around a horse’s hooves. I wonder how many of those were sold a year. I wonder who else makes them.
The studio equipment is being sold off, along with every last pair of scissors made.
I bought some scissors, unmarked, still lacking their final polish. I liked them that way. Then I took a last look around and retreated through the portal, blinking in the glare of the sun.
I walked back up the hill, past the wedding confetti. A little metallic star winking for each last blade sharpened in a Victorian warehouse in a Northern town where the bricks are still stained with soot.
Farewell, Ernest Wright & Son. You did Sheffield proud.