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The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002

It's our working jubilee too!

Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
David Conn
When David Conn first started work as a butcher 70 years ago, the job involved much more than selling meat.

In those days he and his fellow butchers had to slaughter the animals themselves.

"You could go to a farm, buy a cow and bring it back through the streets right to the slaughterhouse," he says.

David has worked on the same stall in the market hall in Aston-Under-Lyne in Lancashire since he was 15.

In that time, the stall has changed a lot he used to use blocks of ice to keep the meat fresh. Now they've been replaced by refrigerators.

At 85, David still likes his job. "I've enjoyed every minute of being in the market hall, that's why I've stayed here after pension age. I like coming here and I like going home."

Chatting to the customers

One of the reasons why David has remained in the job for so long is because he loves talking to his customers.

David's son Gareth also works on the stall
"I like meeting different types of people, and in this type of job you can always have a nice little talk with them".

David was aware of his 50th anniversary at the butcher, back in 1982, but he didn't make a fuss.

"I'm not one for going out celebrating. I'm quite happy to go home when I've finished here, have a look at the television then come back down here in the morning."

Buying the business

The only prolonged absence he has had from his spot in the Market Hall was from 1940 to 1945, when he served in the Middle East during World War II.

When he returned in 1950 much had changed. David's boss had died fighting in the war and the country was still feeling the effects of rationing.

David continued to work in the butchers, but in 1948 he bought the business from his former boss's wife and has run the stall ever since.

The emergence of supermarkets has made things harder for local butchers but despite the increased competition. But David is still optimistic. "We're holding our own and that's all that matters".

No retirement in sight

He suggests that a shift in the nation's eating habits may have also contributed to the decline in the number of butchers.

"There are so many vegetarians today, and so many people are eating out so naturally they don't buy as much meat, and you don't see as many butcher shops around."

Many of David's original customers have passed away, but he still serves their children and their grandchildren, and they often mention their relatives that he used to serve.

For David, retirement is not an option. "I like the job, and if I keep well, then I shall keep doing it, even if I'm here when I'm 90 years of age - if I'm fit I'll carry on. When I leave here I'll think they'll carry me out."

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