Family business near Boston closing down after almost 90 years

A family business near Boston is closing down this week after almost 90 years in operation.

Pictured (from left) Justin Clayton (Richard and Karlenne’s son), Karlenne, Lisa Clayton (Richard and Karlenne’s daughter), Richard, Mandy Bent (who will be continuing at Chris Cook Print). Not pictured, colleague John Games.
Pictured (from left) Justin Clayton (Richard and Karlenne’s son), Karlenne, Lisa Clayton (Richard and Karlenne’s daughter), Richard, Mandy Bent (who will be continuing at Chris Cook Print). Not pictured, colleague John Games.

Frank Clayton & Son, of Wainfleet Road, Freiston, will cease trading on Thursday, March 24, due to the retirement of its owners, husband-and-wife Richard and Karlenne Clayton.

In breaking the news to its followers on Facebook, the business said the decision was taken with ‘much sadness’ and described it as ‘very hard, but unavoidable’.

Frank Clayton & Son was established in 1934, initially as a blacksmiths. Over time, though, it adapted to a changing world.

In more recent years, the main part of the business has been clothing/work wear, but it has also been running an in-house embroidery and print service and a hardware department.

Metalwork has continued to form part of the business, thanks to its role as a manufacturer of wrought iron gates and railings and provider of structural steelwork.

Richard started working at the forge (incidentally, where he was born) after leaving school in 1962, aged 15.

“It was completely different to what it is today,” he said, saying back then they were ‘just the village blacksmith’s’.

“We had to develop over the years,” he said. “It was either that or go under.”

Despite the closure, elements of the business are to continue.

The clothing/workwear, embroidery and print side of the business has been bought by Chris Cook Print and will be based at Main Ridge East, Boston.

The steel fabrication side of the operation, meanwhile, has been bought by Mark Skipworth & Son, of Old Leake.

Richard said he was ‘looking forward’ to retirement, saying he and Karlenne were hoping to ‘get a few more holidays in’.

The couple gave their thanks for all those who have supported the business.

“We would like to thank all the customers and friends for their loyalty over the years,” Karlenne said.