Let’s have a quick butchers…

Starbuck Butchers - 1961

You see? There was a Starbuck in Brownhills long before the Costa. Local butchers were a matter of great pride and no little skill. This image of Starbucks in Brownhills from 1961 shows the pride they took in window displays. Image from Richard Starbuck.

Recently, the question of butchers shops in Walsall Wood has been raised, and it’s a good one worth exploring – it was raised by the wonderful Ian Pell in the comments to Trevor Shakespeare’s remarkable diesel locomotive phot last week.

Ian Pell wrote:

To all the Walsall Wood followers I wonder if anyone remembers a butcher’s shop on the Walsall bound side of Lichfield Road just before the canal bridge.

I am especially interested if there are any photos of it, especially in the mid-fifties. I think it was later sold on to another butcher.

Kind regards

An interesting debate ensued, which you can peruse here, but to  aid the discussion, David Evans has been busy on the subject, and assembled this gallery, for which I thank him profusely.

If you have anything to add – photos, memories, disagreement, clarification – please do. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Thanks to all for their contributions so far…

David Evans wrote:


On Walsall Wood High Street, just before the Canal bridge, the red double door leads up an entry to a yard… I think Cherrys butchers is now Trevors barbers, and the Undertakers office, adjacent to the red double doors, was formerly Feltons butchers… or at least, was known by that name. Imagery from Google Streetview.


This is the view from the red doors, looking up the drive to the former butchers yard. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.


Up this yard and on the right hand side is the former abattoir, now used as a monumental stonemasons workshop. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.


On the left hand side in this yard is this building, reportedly formerly a bakery, now a car upholstery business.Image kindly supplied by David Evans.


Other butchers in the village at one time, were Beakes/Batkins, in Lichfield Road (now Roadrunner car spares ) where a young girl, Audrey Proffitt once stood watching the slaughterman at work, Imagery from Google Streetview.

Audrey Profit has an unfortunate experience… click here 


Bates butchers at Streets Corner where a fine bungalow now stands. Imagery from Google Streetview.


Jones butchers in Salters Road, by the gents barbers. Imagery from Google Streetview.


and another abattoir was in Brownhills Road, where a new cul-de sac called Old Acre Gardens now stand. Imagery from google Streetview.

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16 Responses to Let’s have a quick butchers…

  1. Geof says:

    Seeing Reg Starbucks shop brought back a lot of memories for me, ,,80years ago I had to run an errand for mother to Starbucks I had to t.ake my young sister in the pushchair for a bit of scagmag as we used to call it.When I got home my Mother said where’s the baby, of cause I had left her hadn’t I outside the shop.after a great bang up the esrhole I went back quicker than a shot out of a gun. lucky for me she was still there. I never did it again.

  2. Malcolm Case says:

    My missus, a Walsall Wood lass of some 60+years, remembers the Butchers as belonging to Smiths, and it occupied what is now the Undertaker’s office. Next door was a greengrocers, and on the other side of the double doors was Cherry’s, which was more of a grocers.

  3. freda adams was morris says:

    coop butchers on high street next to coop shop

  4. Diane Codrington says:

    There were at least three butchers shops in Walsall Wood, on the Walsall side were Greensills near the wood corner, Garbetts in the middle, and Feltons where funeral directors is now. Also I believe on the Brownhills side Chas Hales had a premises that dealt in meat, I think. He later had a meat stall in Cannock market.

    • Ralph Surman says:

      Hi – I am interested in Chas Hales’s butchers shop which was 54-56 High Street, Walsall Wood. The other shop was at 4 Market Place, Cannock – Just wondered if you had any pictures or knew the family of Chas Hales?

      • Royston Watkins says:

        Hi Ralph
        I’m very interested in finding out more about Chas Hales. I remember, as a small boy going into the Walsall wood shop on Sunday mornings with my dad in the early 1950s to collect our meat. Chas gave me a beautiful birds egg collection in a glass fronted case. I am certain that he had a monkey in a cage at the rear of the shop. He also had a racehorse, in the stable.
        If you look at the picture of him on Cannock market it says that he downed 52 eggs in 52 seconds ! What has made me so interested in Chas is that I was relating this story to some people and they had this incredulous look on their faces, that I had just been let out of the local nuthouse. Some years ago, walking along the seafront in Weston-super-Mare I met a chap who lived in Walsall Wood High Street . We talked about Chas and the animals he kept. When I mentioned the monkey, he said but what about the lion? Would love to hear from anyone who remembers Chas Hales
        Royston Watkins

  5. John Anslow says:

    Walking down Walsall Wood High Street from the Hawthorn Tree to the canal bridge during the 1920s, you would have passed on your left Hankins’s the bakers, Cherry’s the butchers and Felton’s the pork butchers.

    If Paul and I recall correctly, Dad reckoned that there were four or five other butchers when he was a boy in Walsall Wood, including Jimmy Grant’s and another small shop somewhere between the Church and the Red Lion.

    Cherry’s and Felton’s were certainly at the top end of the market: “High Class” butchers who did their own slaughtering – a task on which the two butchers cooperated each week. Other butchers included those who dealt in cheaper meat bought from the wholesale market in Birmingham (some of which was contemptuously dismissed as “cag-mag” by our Granddad Newbould , who worked for Gretton’s butchers in Aldridge.)

    Every week, Mr Felton cleared his stock of cooked meat products, black pudding, pork pies, polony, chitterlings and the like) by offering threepenny bags on a Saturday afternoon. Dad and his mates did what they could to raise the coppers needed to buy these treats, including picking watercress, mushrooms and flag irises from the Jockey Meadows, which they sold to anyone who would buy them. Less commendably, these lads also stole the occasional loaf from those cooling at Hankins’s bakery and accessible from a side entry; the rascals then disappeared along the canal to enjoy their feast of warm bread and the contents of their threepenny bag.

    When Dad was in his eighties, he was visited by Mr Hankins’s daughter, who later brought him a bread pudding, something that Dad had told her he had bought from her father as “Nelson Cake”, and which had very much enjoyed as a boy. We don’t think he mentioned pinching the loaves!

  6. Jack Bates had a butchers shop and a grocers in the same building. If you went for any shopping you were there for hours. My mom did all her shopping there for a family of five. My dad was paid monthly and so she had a book and paid monthly. I can remember her saying “my bill at Bates was £20 this month, that was for five.!!! Mrs. Bates would give her a box of chocolates when she paid her bill. You shopped everyday in those days, we didn’t have a fridge.

  7. davidoakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Co-op Butchers, of course ! Mentioned by Freda, one I missed from my earlier post, although, they were comparatively late comers to the butchery trade in the Wood. The Co-op owned that set of buildings, and what could be simpler than converting one property into a butchers shop? Can’t remember the date of this conversion, could be as late as the 1950’s.
    Greensill’s, listed by Diane, was the first butcher in the Wood to install a refrigerated window, being a rather small shop, with a small window, it lent itself more easily to this conversion, while the same lady goes even farther back, to my delight, by recalling Chas Hales, who had a business there, on the opposite side in the early ‘40’s, renting his business from Dickie Poole a former butcher who by then had moved to his retirement in Brookland Road. I was a friend of Dickie’s grandson, whose task it was to collect the rent from Mrs Hales.
    The Brownhills Road abbatoir was opposite the School, belonged to Mr. Hancox, whose wife, Hilda, kept a grocery shop at the front of the building. Mr. Hancox, as well as being employed by local butchers, such as Tommy Bates, was also a freelance pig killer of local domestic pigs. Many older houses still had pigsty’s and a squeal from a dying pig was a not uncommon sound at that time. Sam Warrington worked later from the same property, and a Mr. Tom Cooper from Beechtree Road was also in the same trade.

  8. Margaret Tasker (Bird) says:

    Alan Bird Butchers too, high street, brown hills

  9. john phillips says:

    chas hales , champion raw egg drinker pint glasses full of raw eggs, was on the telly in the 60s
    mr hancox I remember him still working slaughtering in the 70s at craddocks slaughterhouse in Cannock wood just down from the parkgate pub

    • Ralph Surman says:

      Hi – I am interested in Chas Hales’s butchers shop which was 54-56 High Street, Walsall Wood. The other shop was at 4 Market Place, Cannock – Just wondered if you had any pictures or knew the family of Chas Hales?

      My Grandad did the same trick – Francis Sidney Robinson

  10. John Dyke says:

    Chas Hales did indeed have a stall on Cannock Market and was a bit of a local star. He demonstrated his raw egg ‘drinking’ skills on the Dave Allen show on live TV! I wonder if that footage still exists?

  11. Fran Trawford says:

    As a small child in the early fifties I lived in Canal Side and we always kept a pig. I used to get so upset when it went for slaughter as it taken squealing up the yard and over the bridge with a bucket over its head. Eventually it was arranged that my aunt would take me to Walsall for a treat so that I was not there to witness its distress.

  12. Reg Fullelove says:

    the olden day memory of sticker russell and harry pyke and the day you got a pigs bladder for a foot ball cruel yes but it was part of lites way years gone bye

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