A village butcher’s shop which has been run by three generations of a family since 1910 will close down on Saturday December 28 because it is unable to compete with cheaper supermarket meat and internet sales.
When AE Pears and Son first opened in Long Clawson staff slaughtered their own meat and made deliveries around the area using a horse and cart.
Albert Edward Pears was one of three butchers in the village when he started up before the First World War and the business continued to thrive when he handed over to his son Edward Luke after he came out of the forces after serving in the Second World War.
Albert’s grandson, Mick, is now in charge but having just turned 65 and with modern buying habits making village butchery increasingly unviable he has decided he will close up for good on Saturday.
Mick told the Melton Times: “It really is the end of an era.
“I will be sad when the moment comes because it’s all I’ve ever known.
“The supermarkets and the online shopping are finally taking their toll.
“If we were in the centre of a town it might be different but we are just not getting the volume of sales and local people don’t support us like they once did.”
Albert was in his early 20s when he founded the business after first taking a local apprenticeship in butchery.
His horse and cart became a familiar sight around the area as he delivered to customers in Old Dalby, Nether Broughton, Hose, Harby and a host of other local villages.
It was such a regular process that the horse even started to remember each drop-off and how long they usually stopped at each one.
“They used to stop at a relative’s on Long Cliff Hill at Old Dalby and on one occasion my grandfather got there about 9.30pm, they had a drink and a game of dominoes and were sat by the fire,” recalled Mick, with a chuckle.
“By the time he came out the horse had walked all the way back to Long Clawson.”
In those days, residents had everything they needed in the village with 30 different tradesmen, including wheelwrights and coal merchants.
The Pears family butcher’s was completely self-sufficient with staff able to slaughter animals themselves, including those they kept in a field as well as those they bought at Melton Cattle Market.
“You used to get a lamb or a pig, for example, you would kill it, the environmental health would come in and check it was OK and then you would sell the meat in the shop,” said Mick.
“We still slaughtered our own meat until last year until I was told I had to pay out to put up CCTV cameras in my slaughterhouse as part of new regulations and I wasn’t having any of that after doing it safely for so many years.”
Mick, who lives in Hose with his wife, is looking forward to spending more time with his family - the couple have two daughters and a son plus a grandchild and another on the the way.
He added: “I started working here when I was 17 but I was messing about doing work for my father from the age of 10 and doing jobs in the slaughterhouse since I was 12.
“I will miss it because it’s been a big part of my life.”