End of an era as butcher retires from family business that has been in March since 1922

PUBLISHED: 10:29 19 August 2014

Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years. The Butchers shop his Grandfather owned opposite. March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years. The Butchers shop his Grandfather owned opposite. March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A butcher is hanging up the tools of the trade after more than 90 years of his family running a shop in March.

Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years at his Butchers shop, March. Picture: Steve Williams. Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years at his Butchers shop, March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Martin Butler, 61, is retiring from the family business in High Street which has been in town since 1922.

“From the minute I was born I think I was destined to be a butcher,” said Mr Butler, of AH Butler and Son.

“As a young boy I would go into the shop with my Dad to help out. It was a natural progression that I would take it on.

“The time has come though to take a step back. It is the end of an era and part of me will miss it but I’m looking forward to my first holiday since 1995,” he said.

Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years at his Butchers shop, March. Picture: Steve Williams. Martin Butler retiring after more than 50 years at his Butchers shop, March. Picture: Steve Williams.

His grandfather Arthur Butler first opened in a smaller shop opposite the current location in 1922.

Next door were his brothers Jack Butler, a baker and Will Butler, a pork butcher.

In 1925 Arthur expanded into bigger premises by buying the present shop which was then taken over by Mr Butler’s father Harold.

From as far back as he can remember Mr Butler helped out in the shop and used to deliver meat on the trade bike before putting in a day at school.

“I wasn’t very good at school but my maths was always spot on - I soon learnt to get customers’ change right,” he said.

In 1968 he began working as a butcher full time and was trained on the job by his father and also by studying at college in Peterborough.

“The job has changed as people’s lifestyle habits have changed,” Mr Butler said.

“People used to have a big roast dinner on Sunday and then have cold meat on Monday. Now that is rarely the case. There is 24 hour shopping now.

“In the 70s my Dad said supermarkets would be the ruination of the country. It has certainly seen a big change in eating habits and the way people shop for food,” he said.

“I have had fantastic customers. It’s time now though to have a well earned rest,” he said.

• What do you think small independent shops can offer over supermarkets? What local shops do you remember in March that have now closed? Email your views to kath.sansom@archant.co.uk

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