Closed - after 77 years in the same family
MP | Nokton 40/1.4 | Plus-X | Rodinal 1:50
In 1933 Percy Bell (30) - a butcher - moved out of the smoggy, noisy, dirty confines of London. He came to the heart of Metro-Land to start a new life with his wife and baby son.
He acquired a brand new shop in a parade of shops just down the road from Rayners Lane tube station. Life was good out here in the suburbs, no smog, fresh air, country walks, wide leafy avenues of neat TF Nash designed houses and beautiful Art Deco architecture.
Later on his son - Henry - left school at 14 and started to learn the butchers trade from his father and eventually they ran the shop together. Henry met a girl, fell in love and married. They had two sons - Michael and Harry. Michael died aged 9 months. Harry followed the family tradition of being a butcher.
Harry went on to marry and have two boys and a girl. Only one - Michael - went into the family business.
Last week Michael and his father, Harry, sold their last sausage. They had to sell the business because there is no more money in being a small, independent, quality butcher. The supermarkets have slowly encroached into their territory and lured the fickle customers away.
I, and many others, will miss their cheery banter, the cups of tea, the Monday morning post-mortem of how well Chelsea did or didn’t do at the weekend, no more hot toddies or mulled wine at Christmas whilst waiting to pick up the festive meat or toasted Hot Cross Buns at Easter. It is all gone now, another small fragment of the community gone, banished to local history and folklore.
Harry has taken early retirement and Michael is unemployed. Nobody wants butchers anymore, not traditional ones anyway. Butchers who actually know meat, the various cuts and what to do with it and know exactly where it came from. They are now dinosaurs.
Slowly but surely all the wonderful, beautiful things that made Metro-Land a nice place to live are being chipped away and I for one will not be sorry to leave now.
Requiem for a way of life.
Pass the Kleenex…………………………..