Tributes to West Hampstead ironmonger
Tan Parsons AN IRONMONGER who was a pillar of the West Hampstead community for many years has died aged 91. Sidney Venning was born in Sumatra Road on September 3 1917 and joined his father in the family hardware store in West End Lane after he finished s
AN IRONMONGER who was a pillar of the West Hampstead community for many years has died aged 91.
Sidney Venning was born in Sumatra Road on September 3 1917 and joined his father in the family hardware store in West End Lane after he finished school.
His formative years were spent at schools in Kilburn and, after a stint in his father's shop, he served with the Royal Navy Minesweepers during the Second World War.
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Afterwards, he returned to the shop where he worked until retiring in August 1986. For many years, he lived in the apartment above the shop.
Mr Venning appeared in the Ham&High on August 29 that year - the week after he sold the business.
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He said: "In the old days when I came here, the customers were all servants.
"We never saw the purchasers themselves - just their housekeepers and servants. And if you upset one housekeeper, you'd find that you had upset four or five others because they were all mates.
"On the whole, my customers are a great crowd - many of them are good friends."
Mr Venning was one of the founder members of the Master Locksmiths Association. He was also scout leader of the 22nd Hampstead group for many years.
Another role he occupied was as a driver taking people from the area to visit their sick relatives in hospital outside the capital.
After retiring, he moved to Poole in Dorset where he lived for a number of years. Latterly, he lived in Lincolnshire until his death.
His father, also called Sidney, arrived in London in 1915 and worked at the shop which was then called Frank Float's Hardware Store.
He bought the business in August 1917 and the name over the door was changed.
Mr Venning's son Tony said: "He was a fantastic guy and was always laughing. He was laughing right up to the very end. He did a lot of charity work and was a pillar of the community. He was well known and I never heard anyone say a word against him."
Mr Venning is survived by his wife Mary and his children Tony, Pauline and Christopher.