The Butcher’s Tale

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When Irish meat traders take meat from Polish suppliers to deliver to Northern Irish meat processors, to deliver to English readymeal makers, to sell on to British supermarkets to stock in your local Tesco Metro it, truly, is the end of days.

No wonder they’re using horse. The meat’s travelled so far I’m surprised they don’t use migrating swifts.

Of course, the easy answer is: use your local butcher. But where is he? He’s probably shut up shop long ago, to be replaced by a Tesco Metro. And so it goes on. Where is Liverpool’s commitment to food? Real, honest, local food? Our city centre is a food store desert: and now, with North Liverpool’s Project Jennifer, the blight is spreading.

Danny Trampnow’s family butchers has been serving the community for over 40 years from his landmark corner store on Scotland Road (and before that on Great Homer Street). He’s even served sausages to Cilla.

But, for the past ten years, project Jennifer’s £150 million regeneration of the neighbourhood has been looming over his shop.

The project, trumpeted by Mayor Anderson, will definitely bring life back to the Everton and Kirkdale communities. But at what cost? This year, after years of protracted delays and false-starts, the scheme will see the demolition of Danny’s family business. The last shop standing.

And Project Jennifer’s hub? A giant Sainsburys. Selling meat from Poland (cow, we’re assuming, optimistically).

“When a butchers closes down, they don’t relocate, they close,” he tells SevenStreets, confirming that, when the wrecking ball comes calling, Trampnow and Sons, one of Liverpool’s last family butchers, will be gone for good. “Schemes like this are just not built for local traders like me. Our days are up,” he says.

And what else will be in this 90,000sq foot of retail space, when it opens, sometime?

In a recent interview, developer St Modwen’s regional director Michelle Taylor told the Echo “We are looking to the likes of Boots, Argos, and WH Smith. It’s very much about convenience. People will look to this centre for their everyday needs.”

But not, apparently, local traders.

For Danny Trampnow, the project signals the inevitable endgame of a phenomenon that’s been played out, across the city, for the past 20 years.

“There used to be four butchers within sight of my shop,”he tells us, “no more. We’re the last trader on this side of the street.”

“I get my meat, as we always have done, from the Stanley Meat Market, on Prescot Road, but even that’s dead these days. Young shoppers have just got out of the habit of going to butchers. This week, I was the only butcher buying meat at the market,” he adds.

Not all shoppers, though, have given up on buying their meat from a local supplier.

Liverpool’s Polish community are still heading to Stanley Road – Liverpool’s only surviving meat market – and, as a result, the traders have adapted from selling to butchers, to selling direct.

“My supplier used to buy in 139 sides of pig a week, now he gets 29. But he gets most of his sales from his Polish customers,” Danny says.

And the Polish palette likes nothing better to a slowly boiled pig’s trotter, a casserole of pigs’ tails and a side of ear. Every last porcine corner is hungrily devoured. Why aren’t we doing as the Polish do, and buying local? How’s that for irony?

“The funny thing is that the meat market can make more on the bits they used to leave behind than the stuff they sell to us,” Dannny adds.

And where will Danny buy his meat from, when he closes his shop for good, sometime this spring?

“Anywhere but Sainsburys. It’s their drive for ever cheaper meat that’s led to the horse scandal. The only way you can be sure of what you eat is to eat local. But, around here, that’s getting harder every day.”

Liverpool needs to get serious about its support for real food, produced from our fertile local soils. Reared on our grass. And sold by independent traders. Why should we have to ‘make do’ with an 11th Tesco Metro (opening on Dale Street)? We deserve better. If just one of Liverpool’s huge empty buildings was given over to a Borough Market style space, the city would bounce back to health. But we need to play our part too…

Support your local butcher: 7 Great Local Butchers

AR Tyms
208 Smithdown Road

A real, welcoming family butchers, with free home delivery, great Christmas hamper schemes and delicious English chili sausages.

A.I Roberts,
The Crescent, West Kirby

Set in the heart of West Kirby’s town centre, minutes from the beach, A.I Roberts has been serving the busy riverside town since 1890. It’s the town’s oldest small business, and despite competition from massive supermarkets, has held its own for over a century. There’s friendly service and fresh produce (we recommend the delicious sausages), with a loyal local fanbase.

B Clarke & Family Butchers
136 Allerton Road, Allerton

Replete with the traditional aproned butcher outside (and, ironically, getting ticked off from the council for cluttering the pavement. Sigh), B Clarke is a great local butcher serving the south Liverpool meat-eating massive with locally sourced cuts of beef, and a great line in pork and mustard sausages, and marinated chops. Yum.

Adams and Sons

Rosemount, Oxton

Fancy a bit of game? Oxton’s Adams and Sons is the place to go for a well hung pheasant, a loin of venison or a tightly packed haggis. Beef from small family run farms in Cheshire. At 110 years old, this is a family butchers as community cornerstone.

Edge and Sons,
New Chester Road
New Ferry

RSPCA Award winners for their ethical business standards, New Ferry’s indomitable Edge and Sons (main pic) is worth the trip through the tunnel. Locally (Barnston) raised long horn cattle, Belted Galloway and matured, grass-fed beef from all Wirral and Cheshire farms. Beef rarely tastes this good – and never does from a supermarket. Read all about their philosophy here

Howard Collins
Richmond Street
Liverpool

Liverpool city centre’s only independent butchers outside of St John’s Market, Richmond’s been serving city shoppers for generations, and continues to offer great value cuts of beef, pork, chicken.

And, of course, Danny Trampnow, 362 Scotland Road, Liverpool

  • goldenblls

    Don’t forget Niblocks by Hunts Cross station. Fantastic!

    I hate buying meat at the supermarket. Absolutely no choice You can’t get a T-Bone in supermarkets.

  • Osaka

    Love the idea of a Borough Market style place in Liverpool, if only there was a way to make it happen. It’s tragic how willingly people accept the lack of quality and choice offered by most supermarkets at the cost of local businesses / suppliers.

  • DocDaneeka

    Can I also add Graham Chambers Butchers 68, St. Marys Rd, Garston.
    Proper neighbourhood butchers with good quality meat that you can actually make great food with. Like stews that really taste of something or mince that you can actually brown rather than boil in the litre of water that comes out the supermarket crap.

  • david

    All good suggestions, and of course Broughs, at Delifonseca, but I didn’t include them as I figured you all know about their quality meats.

  • WDG

    The biggest problem, besides local independent butchers shutting down, is the power that the poor quality supermarket’s hold. Sainsburys and Tesco are renowned by all who work in the food industry (my family has worked alongside farmers and abattoirs for the last 100 years) as the worst ‘crap meat pedlars’. This obviously came to light in the ‘Horse-gate’ scandal but they’ve been doing this kind of stuff for years. The only supermarket you can really trust is Morrison’s as they pay farmers a healthy percentage, all food is traceable and they own their own farms. (By offering farmers investment in order to keep their businesses afloat thus supporting local industry and business).

  • SUPERmarketMAN

    How can I buy meat from a butchers when they close at 5pm?

  • DH

    I’m pretty certain AR Tyms on Smithdown Rd has shut down too. Its been shuttered since late last year.

  • Jen

    Another brilliant Seven Streets feature, this is exactly the sort of journalism the city needs. Akward questions. No easy answers, but I think it starts with the council, not allowing any more Tescos!!

  • david

    website still functioning. Hmmmm.

  • DH

    Yeh that fooled me too but their facebook page hasn’t had an update since July 2012.

  • Tony

    We are all to blame, as you said. Thanks for raising it. Trouble is, we’re living in very difficult economic times and every penny counts, as they say. There are good supermarket meats though, you need to shop carefully and not buy junk. Pre prepared meals are never a good thing, whatever’s in them.

  • Food Lover

    I shop at the Farmers’ Markets whenever I can (nearly every one at Woolton & Lark Lane) so I’m proud to serve my Sunday roasts as entirely local meats and vegetables. Since I retired and spread my shopping habits more and more to Allerton Road, Windmill and Farmers’ Markets, my Tesco spend has dropped from over £50 per week to about £15.

  • ez

    Sadly gone, Bones’ shutters have been down for months.

  • JD Moran

    I’d like to put forward a mention for Bexley’s who have branches on in Old Swan and Huyton Village. I know they had one on West Derby Road in Tuebrook but not been past for a while so not sure if that’s still open. There is another little butcher’s shop in Old Swan as well, opposite the Tesco ironically enough.

    I get a lot of my meat from the TAK Supermarket on Smithdown Road as well. I find the price compares well with the large supermarket chains. One benefit of halal butchers as well is that at least you know your chicken isn’t being pumped full of water which will see your meat shrink incredibly as it cooks.

  • Liam Fogarty

    Not content with laying waste to our high streets, these rapacious supermarkets’ now pose a threat to our health. Liverpool’s independent butchers need our help. After 25 years the excellent Allan’s Butchers closed in Tuebrook in December. But the owners Kev & Paula have now set up a home delivery business.
    Me and other regular customers were happy to sign up. We get locally-sourced meat products that taste great and don’t cost the earth either. You can contact KPT Meats on 0759 104 6556. And no, I’m not on commission ( though a couple of extra rashers would be nice…)

  • Andy

    Local businesses, like butchers, should take some blame themselves. I’d like to be able to buy meat from our local butchers, Muffs in Bromborough who make great sausages, but when I get home on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they are closed. On Saturday they open until about 4pm, but if you arrive after 2pm then everything has been put away. On Sunday they are closed.

    I can go to Asda any time of day or night!

    If you are only going to cater for the unemployed then you aren’t going to get much business.

  • PGB

    I’m pretty sure there isn’t a butchers on Richmond Street unless you count does the Richmond Deli? And the main market is the Stanley Meat Market. It isn’t on Stanley Road.

  • Matthew Edwards

    Only just seen this article; another very well written piece. I’m lucky enough to live near New Ferry where Edge & Sons provide such a wonderful shopping experience. There are two other local butchers in New Ferry, Pearson’s and Griffith’s, as well as the monthly Farmer’s Market and somebody has already mentioned Muff’s of Bromborough less than 2 miles away whose sausages, puddings and pies have earned them many well-deserved awards. All these businesses have a good local reputation, but they still need supporting. I’d like to see a campaign in favour of Real Meat, and reviving the skills of making the most of all the less obvious cuts of meat – which some in the Polish community still possess as shown by the article above. I’m as guilty as the rest sometimes in choosing convenience over taste, but I’m learning to ask for advice from butchers rather than read the preparation instructions on a supermarket package!

  • Eddie Marshman

    I am a local breeder of Pedigree “British Saddleback Pigs” which at times is quite depressing, because the price of pig feed has gone through the roof, the documentation and regulations have dramatically increased (for the better I must add), straw, water, labour etc., etc., have all increased, but the price of pork has remained stable. Sadly the supermarket chains do not mind buying from other Common Market countries where pig welfare leaves a lot to be desired, they will buy from a UK producer in a blaze of publicity, but customers rarely look at the labels on the meat, so when the hullabaloo has died down, it’s down to price and cheap imports again. I really enjoyed the article, well written and to the point. So if you want real meat, go to a real butcher such as Brian Clarke (Butchers) in Allerton or Graham Eyes (Butchers) in Churchtown, Near Southport. Ask for a chop or other cut of Saddleback pork and taste British pork as it should be.