Butchers Shops

In Letchworth, the Butchers' shops of the early 1900s were much the same as Victorian Butchers' markets.

Heritage Museum

Outside of Ansell Butcher's shop, c. 1907. Blinds and canopies offered protection from rain and sunlight. Some Butchers opted to locate their shop on the shadier side of the street.
A selection of meat products sold by The Letchworth Bacon Company, c. 1960s. During the Second World War, the company received supplies of livestock from the government. After the rationing period, the company formed Letchworth Livestock Limited, which allowed them to buy direct from local farms.

Sash-windows at the front of the shop allowed the Butcher to openly display and remove his meat. These windows also meant customers on the pavement could be served, whilst also ventilating the shop itself.

Ansell Butchers was one of the first shops to open on Station Road, around 1906. Ansell was typical of Edwardian Butchers, where open window displays of hanging carcasses were used to attract customers. Butchers such as Ansell would probably have had sawdust on the shop floor to absorb the blood from the meat.

By the 1920s the use of granite and glazed tiles allowed Butchers’ shops to be cleaned more easily. By this time there were around seven Butchers’ shops in Letchworth, including: E.W Crump, Deans Brothers and F.B. Longley.

Self-selection was introduced in the 1960s and the number of Butchers shops increased to around sixteen. This also included the Letchworth Bacon Company, opened in 1935, who ran an abattoir and an ice-cream factory


This page was added on 09/02/2011.

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  • Fishers butchers shop; Sorry got my left & right mixed up. Fishers butchers was at bottom Leys Ave right hand side going down between chemist shop with large coloured jars & a small bakers shop. I may be wrong but I think there may have been a outfitters as well, maybe somebody can remember these shops.

    By Barry Law (11/11/2023)
  • Butchers shops in Letchworth; I remember all the butcher shops mentioned but you all have forgotten one ” Fishers ” bottom of Leys Ave left-hand side going down. School Careers officer thought it a good idea I would make a good butcher boy apprentice “WHY ???” that’s a subject for you people out there School Careers Officers god bless them they did a great job at the time ! .
    I started working there summer of 1958,
    Managers name was Ray surname ? perhaps somebody out there can remember his name.
    My duties as a butchers apprentice;
    Delivering orders on the shop bike…sweeping out the shop & putting down the saw dust…making the beef dripping ( not totally beef and that’s a nother story WOOPS ) … making the sausages…cleaning the chrome and display trays… not to mention the the butchers block! that was hard work…cleaning shop window…washing down pavement outside the shop “WHY”…most of these jobs I did daily… I don’t know why they call it a apprenticeship I was a do this do that gofore… does anybody remember this shop and have these experiences when they first started work…
    AND no I did`t become a butcher !!!

    By Barry Law (07/11/2023)
  • My dad worked at F.P.Jones butcher in the 60’s round the corner at bottom of station road near railway bridge. After he retired he made a very accurate model of the shop. I remember the sawdust on the floor smell to this day .

    By Julie oneil nee walker (30/01/2021)
  • Sorry my memory of Broughton’s butchers was somewhat faulty! the road was not “Cheapside” it was “Eastcheap” apologies.
    Eddie Badger

    By Eddie Badger (25/03/2018)
  • Anyone remember “Porky Broughton’s” on Cheapside? a really large man! I remember queuing there in the war for sausages, each family was allowed one pound and a quarter. His assistant was a much smaller man, I would only have been about seven years old at the time.

    By Eddie Badger (19/03/2018)
  • Basfords butchers opened in 1977 in Leys Avenue with sawdust still on the floor till it closed in 2000! In the early years, Dewhursts was also couple of doors down, a friendly rivalry until it closed.

    Proud to say it was owned and and ran by my parents, John and Pat Basford. Truly a family butchers and spent many Saturday mornings helping out.

    By Steve Basford (04/05/2017)
  • I’m fairly sure that Ansells later became Gunners where I worked as a Saturday delivery boy in the ’50s, riding all over town on a trade bike with a large basket on the front. And yes, at that time we still had sawdust on the floor, part of my job was to sweep it up before closing time. My wages for all this? Six shillings! Gunners had a second shop in Leys Avenue.

    By Dave Thompson (03/05/2013)