Tributes to popular bathroom businessman John Pickford

THE man behind a long-running and “unique” Rotherham bathroom business will be remembered for his charm and enthusiasm, his daughter has said.

John Thomas Pickford – who founded JT Pickfords in 1954 - died aged 86 at Rotherham Hospital on Friday after a short illness.

Born in Liverpool, he moved with his family to Brinsworth at the age of five and, after leaving school, took a job with a building firm, training initially as a plasterer but going on to become proficient in a range of building skills.

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After setting up and running his own firm, he took the plunge into the bathroom business by opening an outlet in Effingham Street, and moved into larger premises a short distance down the road in 1981.

Mr Pickford daughter’s Jackie said the JT Pickfords showroom, adapted from the former Silverstone unit, was unique and distinct from the standard “sheds” used by chain companies.

“There were a lot of nooks and crannies,” she said. “It was one of the most unusual showrooms in Yorkshire – that’s what it was famous for.

“When he retired to Spain, he would still keep his hand in, sending back beautiful vanity units and other products, so he was involved until the end.

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“He was very popular and well-known. He was very enthusiastic, but there was no hard sell – he was charming.”

JT Pickfords, founded in 1954 and now employing more than 30 people, is still a family business – Jackie works at the Effingham Street showroom and her son John is based at the firm’s Ecclesfield distribution centre.

Jackie said her dad, whose late wife Barbara died in 2002, was never one to put his feet up.

“He would be happy knocking down a wall in one of the houses he did up,” she said. “He liked to make a bit of money out of them and plough that back into the business.”

Mr Pickford, who lived in Brecks in his later years, leaves three children, six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.