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Oven dubbed Britain’s oldest and originally used to cook rations retires after 67 years

A working oven dubbed Britain’s oldest is finally retiring after 67 years – and it’s so ancient the trusty owner was cooking with rations when she first used it.

When purchased by newlyweds Ida and Bob Stevely in 1954 – the year rationing ended – the fully-functioning Belling was state-of-the-art.

But now carers at her home in Acklam, Middlesbrough, are baffled by the antique electric contraption and it’s being replaced with a more modern hob.

It’s served 92-year-old mum-of-two Ida well and she would regularly use it to rustle up scones for the family, stubbornly refusing to ditch it for a newer model, reports TeessideLive.

She even uses the cook book and grill pan that came with it.

Ida still has the original cook book and grill pan from when she got the oven

The oven’s original grill pan

Daughter-in-law Elza laughed when she phoned the maker to let them know about the potentially record-breaking appliance and was presented with an automated option to press if the oven was “still under warranty”.

She said: “Ida only ever used this cooker, while raising her family.

“The carers aren’t quite used to working with such an antique model, so we are finally getting rid of it.

“It’s that whole ethos of make do and mend – I’ve always known her to be like that.

“You don’t have to teach an older person about reduce, reuse, recycle.

“They lived like that long before they became buzz words.”

Ida, who was born in 1928 and grew up in Eston, married Bob and the couple lived in Linthorpe Village before moving to Acklam.

She worked for the water board and the council in Middlesbrough, in the accounts departments.

The original Belling cook book

When she first bought the oven the Queen had only just been coronated, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was about to be published.

Elza added: “Ida made meals using rations on the cooker at first which is mind-blowing.”

“She had two kids, it must have been really modern and wonderful when she first got it.

“But as the years passed, she just wasn’t tempted to get something more modern.

“We’ve been saying for years she should get something new, but she wouldn’t have it.

“She hasn’t got much of her memory left now.

“But she always used to bake lovely scones when she knew I was coming over, right up until her late 80s, they were her signature.

“I rang the company – Belling – to tell them about it.

“The automated system said ‘press two if the appliance is still under warranty’ – which made me laugh.

“We hate the thought of it going to landfill, or going to waste.”



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