Thursday, 23 January 2014

Haslingden's "Meat" Trade

Haslingden Cattle Fair in Higher Deardengate in 1905

A blog about Haslingden’s “Meat” trade from at least the 1950's up to today 2014 (Butchers) with a few earlier records as well. Most of the Butchers in our area closed down during the 80's and 90's with very few surviving up to the millenium, the demise was primarily due to the onset of local Supermarket shopping, and this was the trend throughout the country.
(Any slaughterhouse notes will be older and prior to 1955)


Sale of prized cow at Market Place near to the Big Lamp
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Photo of auction mart kindly
supplied by Brian Smith
"Haslingden Auction Mart" It does'nt seem that long since we had one of the oldest cattle auctions in the whole of Lancashire situated at Bentgate near the Cricket Ground.  Unless you previously knew, I suppose you would never know this today, because there have been modern houses built on its site (since the millenium).

The Woolpack Hotel across the road from the auction mart used to stay open and could serve alcohol all day long, even when the old licensing laws forced pubs to shut down at 3pm in the afternoon, the reason was that they held a special licence to sell all day in principle to cater for the many drovers and cattle men who would have come down from the upper hills or travelled far and wide to attend the nearby auction.

Auction at Bentgate click over to enlarge
Photo: John Simpson
I certainly can remember the many pens to the outside of the auction.  And I remember going down there a few times and would see Mr Norman Duxbury auctioneering the cattle, I can also remember his son Ted who took on the job after Norman retired. (Besides being a good auctioneer Norman was also a very good snooker player, I remember seeing him play when I went with my dad to the Liberal Club at the bottom of Park Street).

Directors of the Auction Mart 1950
Photo: John Simpson
Lots of Haslingden folk would venture down to the auction on actual auction days to sample the superb meals they put on, it was proper home cooking and offered up at the right price. There was also a shop which sold small farm equipment etc.
I can also remember reading and hearing tales about the occasional bull escaping and running riot around the nearby Cricket Ground and terrorizing nearby residents until things were brought under control.

From Memories of Village Life: memorial to Derek Pilkington  by Chris Aspin and John Simpson (1992):
The station was particularly busy on Thursday, when cattle from the auction mart at Bentgate were driven in herds of perhaps forty or fifty to the waiting trucks in the goods yard. The supervision of these high-spirited beasts never seemed adequate. A stampede, for such it often was, would be led by a boy with a stick followed by a man on an old bicycle. Between them dashed a breathless sheepdog trying to keep order. Gardens in Broadway and Helmshore Road suffered from frequent invasions, and sometimes the cows would rush headlong into side streets pursued by the panting dog and the cursing cyclist.
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The “Slaughterhouse”  (local killed meats) 
(No! not abattoir (abattre or “to fell”),

They were called slaughterhouses then,
It was not long ago, when beast,
Were killed local, yes local as in,
Just down the street….

Up until the nineteen fifties,
Co-op was the biggest, and independent to the rest,
behind Deardengate, I saw the “bullrings” in the wall,
and today nearby remains a tablet of words,
which bears the “slaughterman’s creed”.

Besides the Co-op, there was another nearby,
Behind Jacks butchers below Deardengate,
Shared with another from near the “Bull”.
Sometimes three butchers would share one “house”.

Another slaughterhouse behind Clough End,
Were Luke despatched and prepared the sides,
for Harry to butcher, display and sell.
For folk on Hud Hey, Hud Rake,
And Blackburn Road as well,

Behind Church Street, near Bird In Hand,
Halstead’s also had their slaughterhouse.
They also killed at "Sunnyslack Farm" Nr Coldwells,
For meat to fill them early Hollands Pies,
And another one behind the Holden Arms for Brandwoods,
Moorlands Farm on Hassy Old Rd had one as well,
to supply the meat for the hospital.
And there was another in Helmshore as well,
On Bowl Alley and out to Ogden’s mad corner.


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This is the only photo I have which shows some of the old slaughterhouse
The older stone annexed building shown here was part of the Old Co-op Slaughterhouse up until the 1950's, although there was a further old building attached (now demolished) which came further forward to the front of the photo and this was a canopied area with like I say had the "bullring" fixings in the walls.  The building is or was to the rear of the shops on upper higher deardengate almost directly behind the Co-op Buildings and adjacent to the Old Bell Street Works (now demolished 2012).  The old Slaughterman's Creed was built into the walls of the old slaughterhouse building. I do remember seeing it, because Roger Kay did have his balloon factory in these buildings and he once showed it to me, I just wish I had taken a photograph at the time. I don't know what will have happened to that now.

David Walsh has kindly offered further information on this (11th August 2015) and kindly supplied the wording of the Slaughterman's Creed which read as follows:- 

"Thine is a task of death,
discharge thy task with mercy.
Let thy blow be swift and sure,
thy victim feel no pain.
A death which thou thyself would ask!




David states: What you now see at the slaughterhouse is nothing like it used to be, although an old town plan shows what it used to be like.  The steps at the front were added because when Karrimor took over the building, they carried a new floor level into the building and then, would you believe, painted over the creed!  When you enter now, if you can still get in, 
where it was is at eye level.  It was high inside because rails to hang on cattle were at least 14 ft from floor level and then a bit higher to the ceiling.
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Dobsons Butchers at Rising Bridge
"With over twenty butchers shops that was,
Down to Two butchers shops there is! (2014)"

Some of the butchers from the past which I can remember supplemented by many contributors who have helped with this blog:

At Rising Bridge the butchers shop was opened up after the War by a butcher called Roland Brown, then he was followed by Harold Dobson and then by Tom Pimlott who owned the shop for many years.  The shop became the last house on the row after the other properties were demolished after the floods of 1964. Its been a private dwelling now for at least 20 years. 

You can just see Harry Taylors
butchers on the left corner
Harry Taylor’s (J.E. Taylor and Sons) on Blackburn Road, Near Cross St North. Both Harry and his wife were usually serving in the shop and at weekend or when they got really busy Luke Warburton worked there part time. I also seem to remember that Jack Hartley (Red Jack) sometimes helped Harry out after he had retired from the Co-op.  For many years Harry did have a slaughterhouse in Clough End which Luke used to work from, but I think in the latter years "bought in" most of his meats. It has been a private dwelling now for at least 30 years.

Co-op Butchers (No.2) on Blackburn Road (see photo below right), close to Station Road. There where two shops, I think the other was a Co-op grocers. All that row those days were shops, but now all but the co-op buildings have been converted to private dwellings.  The Co-op shops having been a  double fronted Antiques Shop for the last thirty or so years. 

There was also a Halal butchers shop on Blackburn Road, next door to Harold Aldersons, Newsagents somewhere around the early to mid sixties.

The old antiques shop is were
the Co-op Butchers used to be
Harry Abbots butchers, near to Bramwells the fishmonger and Rudges Chip Shop at the top of Prinny Hill. (Now demolished and Council owned flats built on the land.

"Survived" T.H. Walmsley, then Adamson, then Mead, then Harrison and now D.T. Law, 4- 6 Blackburn Rd. This butchers shop is now a double fronted shop, although originally it was only a single shop (No.6 Blackburn Rd) and was next but one to the "ginnell" by the Black Bull Hotel.  The first shop (No.4 Blackburn Road was originally a tobacconist and "Yelloway" coaches to London booking agent called "Fletchers", which much later became a fancy dress shop until more recent years its become part of the D.T. Law Butchers shop. 

Jack’s butchers on Higher Deardengate. Jacks brother also worked there at weekends. Also to the rear and beneath Jacks shop (accessed from Blackburn Road there was a shared slaughterhouse for Jacks Butchers and another butcher near to the "Bull"  (Still a shop premises – different trade)
Halsteads and Haworths
butchers on Church St.

Dewhurst Butchers at No.25 on  Higher Deardengate 1949 to 1957 approx. - Mr. Edmundson was the Manager, who went on to manage the Accrington shop when the Haslingden one closed. When he retired he actually worked for "Jack's butchers" on a part time basis.  Also Neil Pickup worked at Dewhurst. (Today it is still a shop premises - different trade.

Co-op Butchers (No.1) on Higher Deardengate opposite old Woolworths. I remember Jack Hartley who was the butchery manager and also known as "Red Jack",  simply because there was also another Jack Hartley who also worked at this butchers, but he became known as "Black Jack" obviously nicknamed in accordance with the colour of their hair. Also Tommy Wilkinson was one of the butchers. (Still a shop premises – different trade)
Mr. Tom Halstead
Butcher c1903


Halstead's butchers on Church Street, close to the Bird In Hand Pub, this was a very old family butchers which went back several generations. (At one time had their own slaughterhouse to the rear of the premises). I remember being served by Mr. Halstead, and I also knew his son who I think also worked in the shop at one time and was nicknamed "Harry Guinness". It was next door to George Berry's shop and very near also to Whiteside's Cloggers Shop, which could well have been the last place in Haslingden to make clogs.

In the forties and fifties there was a further two butchers on Church Street as well, one of these was operated by Dick Halsteads father.

Mr. Haworth's butchers at the bottom of Church Street (next door to the Trades Club. They had a wooden stable door entrance (where the bottom half of the door was closed, "probably to stop any dogs getting in", and the top half open. Tony used to help at his dad's shop and I think may have eventually taken over the business.

Harry Gorton at the top of Grane Road - Lower Deardengate. 
Advert from 1951 Haslingden
Baptist Magazine

Andrew Brandwood had the butchers at 287 Grane Road, opposite Gas Street.  Later the business was carried on by his son.  Then the business was sold to Gardners and then they eventually moved across the road and started up a Frozen Food factory which I think was called Gardners Frozen Foods later to be called Snowking - (now a mini industrial units site). This particular butchers shop did continue in business up until the 1970s/1980s. Besides being the local butchers, this business also doubled up as a Post Office.  It is now thought that when Brandwoods had the butchers shop, they also may have had a slaughterhouse at one time behind the Holden Arms pub just further up the road. 

"Survived" No.10 Bury Road which was Richard Hardmans butchers, then Bill Monks, and has now become Howard's Butchers,  next to what was the Old Thorn Pub or the Mary Hindle Centre. This is second surviving butchers still with us today. At the end of any working day, you may see Howard taking his wood butchering block table outside and to the front of the shop where he can be seen scrubbing it down.  

Burgess butchers near Bus Stop at No.22 Manchester Road. Run by Mr. G. Burgess and later taken over by his son Duncan.  David Walsh worked there also.

In 1928 there was J.W. Hoyle butcher of 38 Manchester Road.

G. Horrocks had the butchers at No.58 Manchester Road (c.1969) and I am pretty sure that this was the same shop eventually taken over by Geoff Sackfield’s butchers further along Manchester Road (Still a shop premises – different trade)

Co-op Butchers (No.4) in Poplar Street next to its grocers shop and this was still active up until the 1970s.

Mr. Jim Woods who had the butchers on the corner near the little Crown pub.

Also a butchers at Mayfield.

Butchers on The Parade, Broadway
On the parade at Helmshore there was T. Adamson Butchers at No.2 and then later on there was also Bill Monks which I think may have been further on The Parade. For some reason I think it was different premises to what Adamsons had.

Co-op Butchers (No.3) at top of Fields Road, Sykeside

The Co-op also had a butchers shop at the side of the Old Sion Church (now demolished) on Holcombe Road.  The premises are still a shop today, but of a general grocers type of business. 

Cant think of anymore, if anyone can come up with anymore please let me know and then I will add them to the list.




Brawn and Polony (another superb advert from around c1928 sent in by
Alison May)







Tripe, Cowheels and Trotters (advert  from around c1928 kindly sent by Alison May)




Photo above: Haslingden Co-op Blackburn Rd showing butchers shop (kindly supplied by Keith Burton)

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Click over to enlarge
Provision Merchants - Which usually sold Hams and Cooked Meats alongside their groceries.
There was Bob Gardners on Blackburn Road, Near Vale Street Bus Stop.  This was a general high class grocers as well.  But he also specialized in Cooked Hams etc.


Click over to enlarge
There was also Melia's which I think may have been on Higher Deardengate and if not mistaken could it have been on the same site which later became Redman's No. 53 Deardengate. I remember Redmans used to be somewhere near to Jack's butchers.  A couple of photos from the archive have turned up showing the hams and sides hung up from when Melias had the shop. Also if I am not mistaken Duckworths who were further up on Deardengate also went into provisions alongside their butchers dept. 


Click over to enlarge


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(Thanks to my mate Bill for giving me the initial inspiration for this blog and also for supplying lots of info on the old slaughterhouses and also to John Bedford, John Vizzard, Ian Edmondson, Clifford Hargreaves, Billy Fox, Michael Mullaney, Jackie Ramsbottom, Alison May, Brian Smith, Larry Sagar and John Simpson  for help with information on butchers names, photos  and other notes)

Received this superb informative email from Michael Mullaney (26th January 2014)


Hi Bryan,
The Co-op had one next to its shop in Poplar St which was still active until the 70's and there was one on Grane road opposite Gas St. well into the 70-80s.
There were two butchers in Church St. Howorths, Tony Howorths dad's at the bottom next to Trades Club and one on the other side below the bird in hand pub possibly next to Whitesides clogger's shop, I think the last shop to make clogs in Haslingden, closed in the late 60's, although there was a small shop in Pine St who did a few.  Speaking of clogs, all the Co-op butchers shops attached to the stores were originally cloggers shops such was the trade in clogs for the workers, they changed to butchers as clogs gave way to boots and shoes and the demand for meat increased.  The Co-op slaughter house was behind the row of Co-op shops on higher Deardengate its outbuildings have only recently been demolished.  It sat adjacent to the Co-op bake house and dry goods warehouse, both large impressive buildings.  Lower down Bell St was the Co-op stables, later the garage and is still being used as a garage today.  This building was the old National School before the Co-op acquired it.  As a youth of 14 I can recall seeing the large wooden hot tub they put the slaughtered pigs into to scale them and shave the bristles before carving up and the old galvanised water tank which stood outside in which they put the intestines to cure before using for sausage skins.
Hope this adds to the bigger picture.
Michael Mullaney

Joan B has kindly sent in a email with the following notes (email received 12th April 2014)

Further to your blog about butchers' shops in Haslingden, we started married life in the flat above the butcher's at no.1 Poplar Street.We had a living- room cum kitchen, a bedroom, a downstairs scullery and an outside loo which we shared with the chap (Charlie) who ran the butcher's shop.
We were there several months then the next lot of newly weds took over. It was reckoned to be the most decorated flat in Haslingden as nobody wanted the previous tenants' decor

We then moved on to Rising Bridge and were friends with Alan and Margaret Birtwistle and their children who took over the butcher's. Their son is now a surgeon.

John Mead has kindly sent in a email listing additions for the Meat Blog: (email received 26th April 2014)

Good Evening Brian

Another addition to the butchers list was No. 6 Blackburn Rd which was owned by Tom Adamson (don't know from what date he owned the shop from) but he sold the shop along with No. 2 The Parade (always No.2 as I'm aware) in Helmshore to my Dad Eric Mead in 1971.
My Dad later went on to sell The Parade shop to Jim Taylor 2 or 3 years or so later.
I took over my Dad's shop on Blackburn Rd in 1985 and sold to Mark Harrison in 1987.
I was also an apprentice in Bill Monk shop at 10 Bury Rd from 1976 to 1981.
So I suppose that makes me the common denominator with the only two remaining butchers shops in Haslingden.
Hope these are useful editions to your very interesting blog on Haslingden butchers.

Cheers John Mead


Larry Sagar has kindly sent in a email listing additions for the Meat Blog: (email received 11th August 2014)


Hi Bryan, Just one or two snippets of info about butchers shops.The shop at Rising Bridge was opened up after the war by a butcher called Roland Brown, he was followed by Harold Dobson and then by Tom Pimlott who owned the shop for many years. The butchers shop on blackburn rd was a co-op  with the co-op grocers next door. The co-op also had butchers shops on Grane St and Holcombe Rd as well as the one at sykeside.You mention Jack Hartley as one of the butchers in the Deardengate co-op,he was known as red Jack as their were two Jack Hartleys working there the other one was known as black Jack,(based on hair colour of course.
Larry.