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A survivor from times when stuff was built to last

Gretta Alcorn with her vintage gas cooker.

Gretta Alcorn with her vintage gas cooker.


WHEN Gretta Alcorn moved into her first home at the Gate Lodge, Marble Hill, Dunfanaghy, little did she think that her first cooker would still be doing her family proud 45 years later.
The Calor appliance, made by Sidnay Flavel and Co., was already in place when Gretta and her late husband Arthur arrived in 1971.
And for the next four decades the trusty cooker never let Gretta down as she cooked meals for her family every day.
Last month she took delivery of a new oven but rather than allow the cooker to be scrapped she made contact with the County Museum.
“There’s nothing wrong with it so there was no reason to throw it away. Unfortunately though, the gas man says that there’s a small leak at the back so he wouldn’t certify it,” Gretta explained.
“It was our first gas cooker and had already been in the house for a number of years before we arrived. It’s been repaired a few times and serviced.
“Stuff made these days is disposable but in those days things were built to last. It’s another piece of my marriage gone,” she sighed.
Arthur passed away three years ago while her two children are grown up.
“The gas cooker is hard to beat. When you light it you have instant heat whereas with electric you have to wait until it heats up. Likewise, when it’s turned off it’s off while at electric appliance can stay very hot for a period of time – even after it too has been turned off. I’ve always preferred gas appliances,” she said.
Caroline Carr, assistant curator at the County Museum, said: “It has certainly got to be one of the oldest working cookers in the country.”

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