My Father and founder Ron House originally worked for The Southern Gas Board, as it was known then, having followed in his Father’s footsteps. He had been working for them for approx. 10 years on all aspects of the Towns Gas industry when he decided to take the big step of starting out on his own to provide a future for the family.
A simple ‘man and a van’ was never enough for his ambition and so he started to sell gas fires from the garage of his home to coincide with the new revolutionary North Sea Gas, and consumers change in re-designing their homes to a more modern era (Lets ignore the orange stripey wall paper, wide collars and flares!!)
The first Gas Appliance showroom (RKH Gas) opened shortly afterwards in 1971 at 149 Millbrook Road East, Freemantle, when it was the main road out of Southampton towards the west.
6 years of growth and development meant he needed large showroom space and he upgraded to our current position along Shirley Road in summer of 1977, all the while running this business with his wife (our mum) doing the books, and us kids playing up in the back store!!
Memories of us cleaning Cannon cookers, Ascot Hot Water ‘geysers’, ‘Debonair’ gas fires and many other old household names was a regular pocket money earner for us all and probably the start of us being drawn into the ‘business’.
Weekends throughout the 80’s were spent with wire wool, flux, solder and many other smelly products to be able to buy my 10p ‘mix ups’ from the corner shop
Ashley and Zac House followed in their Father’s and Grandfather’s footsteps into ‘The Gas’. Completed their apprenticeships, did their ‘time’ with British Gas and as a ‘man in a van’ and eventually joined the Family business.
I say joined…more like a takeover…. they convinced their Father to retire at the tender age of just 50. He never actually left and just kept popping in for tea, but always with a word of advice here and there..
The phrase of ‘it was never this easy in my days’ rings in my ears to this day.. along with the moans when we modernised the company name to ‘Gasworks’.
Progressing on through the Noughties, as the two sons increased the capacity and range of the business, the workforce grew and grew, to eventually employing the sons and daughters of Ashley and Zac. Both wives also assisted in the showrooms to fully encompass the ‘family owned and run’ business.
Today, we have 3 generations still regularly working together – Our Mum, now aged 74 still comes into the showroom and office to help out whenever she’s asked. We have a saying that she can retire when we retire!!!
Still, the grounding and work ethic instilled will never change. The P’s and Q’s we were taught will always stand true. Hopefully we can pass this on to future generations.
Through 50 years of providing a safe, reliable, honest and above all, personal service to our customers, we thank ALL of you for your support and loyalty. Without you, this story would never have been told, shared or lived by us all.
May we continue for the next 50 years..