Golden days for butchers
AFAMILY butchers is celebrating half a century in business with its owner still serving behind the counter.
D Gregory & Sons Butchers in Bacup was originally established in Burnley Road, Bacup, by Derek Gregory, who started off as a Saturday lad at a Stacksteads shop.
He then moved to Bacup to work full-time at Ralph Tattersall Family Butchers, before taking over the business 50 years ago. The shop moved to its current location on St James Street in 1997.
Derek, 74, continues to maintain a hands-on role, as does his wife and piemaker-in-chief Ann, 69. The couple work Wednesday, Thursday, Fridays and Saturday mornings.
Derek has seen many changes in the industry, the town and shopping habits down the years.
He said: “It’s hard to believe that when I started there used to be no less than 13 butchers shops in Bacup, plus three mobile butchers. We are now the last remaining town centre retail shop - and we’ve still got a handful of customers who have been shopping with us since we opened.”
The couple’s son Philip has been involved in the business since leaving school and now manages the shop with his wife Tracy while their other son Garry runs the family farm in Weir.
Derek says customers’ tastes have changed with lifestyles. He said: “When we opened we only produced one type of sausage, which was a simple pork one. Now we do 13 different varieties according to changing tastes.
“Back in the 60s and 70s people bought a lot more diced meat for pies and stews. A lot of households would regularly bake several times a week and family meals would be slow cooked during the day but there has been a decline in that. There has also been a massive increase over the years in the amount of chicken we sell.”
Another aspect of the shop which has expanded is Ann’s home-produced meat and pork pies. Her pork pie has won the speciality pie competition staged alongside Skipton Auction Mart’s Christmas fatstock shows for the past two years.
Derek, twice president of Rossendale Butchers’ Association, marked the special anniversary by paying close to £2,750 for two prize win- ning heifers at Skipton Auction Mart’s March prime cattle show and sale.
They also have a brandnew shop frontage as part of Bacup’s townscape heritage initiative.
Beefing up their landmark 50th anniversary at D Gregory & Sons Butchers in Bacup are, from left, Tracy, Derek, Philip, Garry and Ann Gregory, and Jeanette Styles and (inset) Derek Gregory during his time as president of Rossendale Butchers’ Association