Where to start…? Well, back in the mists of 1973 I fell into the carpet trade pretty much by accident really.
I had just finished my A levels and was planning to go to University but was wanting to travel first and see a bit of the world. Nowadays it is called a gap year, though it wasn’t actually called that then. There weren’t many grants or student loans in those far off days and my parents were not in a position to help.
I had to fund it myself. So I marched into my local carpet shop, Gray and Lowe in Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush in West London ( It is still there trading to this day ) where we lived at that time and asked for a job.
Foolishly they gave me one!
I worked there for three years, sometimes in the shop but more often going out to work with the fitters helping them. That is how learned to fit carpets. I have postponed going to University to this day, giving me I think a claim to the longest gap year in history! After three years I left to set up on my own.
From the beginning I have always specialised in working in the domestic side of the carpet trade rather than the commercial side of things – i.e offices, public buildings.
Over the years I have spent much of my time laying new carpets which of course is exactly what you would expect from a carpet layer. However, about half of my time over the years has been spent working with existing fitted carpets that had issues that needed sorting out, of one type or another.
Maybe they had been damaged by accident for example, rips, burns, stains, patching worn areas repairing pet damage. That sort of thing could often be patched or fixed and people did make do and mend more than they do now.
Also fixing stair carpets that have become loose or worn and potentially dangerous was and still is regular source of work. Relaying wrinkled baggy fitted carpets that needed to be taken up and tightened was a very common requirement and still is.
Years ago it was common for people to take all their fitted carpets and take them with them to their new house when they moved home! I used to do a lot of those types of jobs. They would all get loaded up onto the removal lorry and then relaid in their new home.
No one does that anymore though people do often ask me to move uplift a carpet from one room and then refit it into another room or perhaps cut it up to fit onto the stairs.
Today I am still doing pretty much the same thing that I always did work wise. After all these years nothing much has changed in the carpet trade. Now of course my son Theo works in the family business with me as well. This is nice as it provides continuity and additional manpower.