CREATIVITY is in the family with Retro Chimps, the upcycling brother-in-law duo who give items a lease of new life.

If you have watched Johnny Vegas’ Carry on Glamping – particularly the first season, then you will have heard of Retro Chimps run by brothers-in-law Hughie Brennan from Sutton Manor and Steve Kay from Clock Face.

The first season saw them create Lol’s Bar for the Field of Dreams as part of the plot for Maltese bus Patricia. The bus was affectionately named after Johnny’s mum and the bar after his dad Laurence.

St Helens Star: Inside Retro ChimpsInside Retro Chimps (Image: NQ)

They are also firm favourites in St Helens and beyond, doing artwork and upcycling for Momo’s, The World of Glass, Sabroso and big-name brands such as Proper Nutty and more.

The pair, who are now based on Chalon Way business park, started in Steve’s kitchen after former singer Hughie suggested they put their creativity to good use after Steve was made redundant from his loft insulation job back in 2012.

Hughie, 50, said: “It was just something that we both liked doing, I didn’t want to travel the country anymore and Steve has a design background, so we agreed and came up with a name that was cheeky like us but brought in the retro element.

St Helens Star: Marble run Marble run (Image: Retro Chimps)

“At first started off turning things into lamps and bringing new life to memorabilia and it grew from there helping to fit out micro pubs and people making requests.”

“It’s about the challenge as well,” added Steve, “sometimes we get caught up in the idea and agree to it then afterwards think, oh how are we going to do that? but we always figure it out.”

Dad-of-three Hughie said: “I love the pie-in-the-sky ideas, that’s why we love Johnny so much, he’s constantly coming up with crazy ideas, we’ve got a few things of his here [at the workshop] that we are working on.

St Helens Star: Retro ChimpsRetro Chimps (Image: Retro Chimps)

“He makes us laugh and sometimes cry with changing his mind but he always has a great imagination and we love that, I think he sees that in us too.”

One of their latest ventures has been to create a marble run for Lady Pilkington to present to The World of Glass, which involved learning new skills and a lot of trial and error.

St Helens Star: Lol's bar created by Retro ChimpsLol's bar created by Retro Chimps (Image: Lol's bar created by Retro Chimps)

Dad-of-three Steve said: “For me, the challenging ones are the most fun, because we really have to have a think and learn new skills too, I loved the idea of making the coin run but for marbles to tie in the glass element, now it’s in The World of Glass and kids can pay for marbles which go down the run and its money that all goes back to the World of Glass.”

Other crazy one-off ideas they helped create for promotional purposes for brands have been a port-a-loo with a coffee machine attached that made fart noises – to help sell a camel dung coffee brand in London, and a jerry can attached to a beer pump to put out mushroom sauce and unique one-off pieces for boardrooms, and customers alike.

St Helens Star: A bar using left over piece of Johnny Vegas' helicopter, used in the show made by Retro ChimpsA bar using left over piece of Johnny Vegas' helicopter, used in the show made by Retro Chimps (Image: Retro Chimps)

The pair say there has been a rise in people wanting to reclaim old items has grown over recent years, adding that they rarely throw anything away.

Steve said: “We have big wooden circles that make amazing table tops and they are from an electrical business on this business park so we have loads of them in the back, we’ve had someone give us an old PlayStation they didn't want to part with and we turned it into a guitar, anything really.”

St Helens Star: Inside The Bard in Prescot, a micropub kitted out by Retro ChimpsInside The Bard in Prescot, a micropub kitted out by Retro Chimps (Image: Inside The Bard in Prescot, a micropub kitted out by Retro Chimps)

Hughie interrupted: “It really is anything, the crazier the idea we love it. I love kitting out the pubs and bars, but we love the one-off commissions too. We reclaimed everything and have made some lovely pieces.

“Oh and since Johnny wore our t-shirt on the show [Johnny Vegas: Carry on Glamping on Channel 4] we’ve had more merch made which is available on our website.

“We are made up with all the support.”

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