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Barnstaple man takes over 130-year-old masonry business

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

MASONS: Father and son Adam and John Short. Picture: Mike Southon. Ref: BNMS20140227D-006_C

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A BARNSTAPLE man has taken the reins of his father's 130-year-old masonry business.

Adam Short, 34, has taken over J Short & Son monumental masons, which was established in 1895 by his great-grandfather John Short.

Adam's father, also called John Short, took over the business from his father Ronald in 1985 and is now handing control over to Adam.

John credits the fourth-generation business's survival with the fact it offers a personal in-house service and covers all aspects of masonry.

The business primarily creates headstones for graves but can also carry out other engravings such as house name signs.

"It is a family firm and we like to think we offer a personal service," he said. "It is a very satisfying job. When you put a stone there you know it is going to be there for a very long time and your craftsmanship is on show."

Adam said his father would do around 17 to 20 stones a year compared to the 300 a year he produces now.

"I have still got the skill but I imagine if my son joins the business he will never learn to cut letters because it is all done on machines now," he said.

But Adam said there was still a level of pride in the work he does.

He added: "It is like the final thing. Once it goes down people can begin to let go then."

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