Blackhurst Butchers at Southport Market is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
The popular family-run local business was started by John Blackhurst in 1963, and has been operated by his son, Tony, for the past quarter of a century.
Father and son have given a fascinating look back to what the market used to be like six decades ago, what people used to eat compared to what they do now, how shopping habits have changed – and some of the famous faces who have called in!
They have both shared how impressed they are with the new-look Southport Market which was transformed two years ago into an impressive food, drink and events venue.
The £1.4 million transformation was led by Sefton Council and has been the catalyst for the steady improvement to Southport’s Market Quarter.
John Blackhurst, 82, said: “I opened the shop in the second week of November, in 1963.
“The week afterwards I got married!
“I was 22 years old at the time.
“That was just before Christmas as well!
“It means we have a busy few weeks ahead, celebrating the 60th anniversary of our business, our 60th wedding anniversary and then Christmas!
“The shop was initially based on County Road in Walton in Liverpool, and then we moved to Tree View Court in Maghull. I was working with my brother Jim at the time.
“Then I moved into Southport Market, 42 years ago, and Jim stayed managing the shop in Maghull.
“Southport Market was a fantastic place to be when we moved in!
“There were six butchers in there, and five greengrocers. There were two fishmongers too.
“As you walked in the main entrance, we were on one side, and Adrian Hope butchers were on the other side!
“In those days we sold more things like ox hearts, lambs hearts. Oxtail was another one that used to be so popular. People used to love kidneys and tripe. We used to put lamb kidneys in the tray with the lamb chops, people loved them. Bacon ribs were really popular back then and seemed to go out of fashion but Tony now cures his own bacon ribs and tells me he’s selling an awful lot of them at the moment.
“It was a busy place to be. On a Saturday, it was so packed with people that if you wanted to go to the toilet, which is at the back of the building, you couldn’t get through the crowds inside, you had to walk outside and go round the back.
“There were all kinds of businesses inside Southport Market back then. There were novelty shops, around eight fashion shops – women’s clothes, men’s clothes, kids’ clothing – pots and pans, sweets, haberdashery, a shoe shop, card shops, a shop selling curtains.
“Everything you need under one roof!
“People’s shopping habits were very different back then.
“There was a real sense of shopping local. Customers would go and shop at the local butcher, they would go and shop at the local greengrocer, rather than getting everything from a big supermarket.
It would be nice to bring back that sense of shopping local, with local residents supporting their local businesses more.
“Although to be honest we have been very lucky that we now are getting more and more customers who have stopped using supermarkets and notice the difference in quality when they buy local quality produce.
“More Shoppers used to buy lots of joints of meat for their Sunday roasts! Now people don’t cook as many Sunday roasts as they used to but we do sell an awful lot of steaks on the weekend now.
“When Tony moved to his new shop at the front of the market he invested in a dry ageing fridge in which he now ages all his rump, sirloin and ribeye steaks for at least 28 days, as well as full ribs of beef.”
John, a lifelong Liverpool FC fan, has served some famous faces over the years.
He said: “Billy Liddell used to come in! Tony Hateley too, both Liverpool FC legends.
“Being a big Liverpool fan, I named my son, Tony, after Tony Hateley.
“Johnny Cooke, the former amateur boxing champion, used to shop with us.
“Jean Alexander, who used to play Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street, often bought meat from us. She was lovely, very down to earth.
“I am really proud of Tony and how well he has built the business.
“He is evolving all the time. He started doing deliveries during the Covid pandemic, which was a great idea.”
John is a big fan of a tasty plate of meat for his tea.
He said: “My favourite is a good sirloin or ribeye steak, with some green beans, peppercorn sauce and chunky chips! I love it. Every Saturday Tony drops us a meat pack off which includes two nice big juicy steaks.
“Whether it’s beef, pork, lamb, chicken, I enjoy it all.
“At the weekend I enjoy a good beef, lamb or pork joint. I love a delicious Sunday roast dinner!” We’re a family that all really enjoy our traditional Sunday roasts. My favourite time is when we come together as a family at Tony’s house with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and we all enjoy a roast around the table together.”
John is a big fan of the new look Southport Market.
He said: “I think it’s great now! There are a lot of really good local independent businesses operating. It’s an excellent food hall. There are many days when I walk in and every chair and every table is full.
“There are lots of really good events happening at Southport Market too. The last one we went to was Comedy Bingo!
“We went in one day and we had a brilliant time – and won tickets to Southport Air Show!
“It was a really good laugh.”
To celebrate their 60th anniversary, Blackhurst Butchers has a special offer; a free breakfast for two (up to the value of £7) for any customer who spends over £35.
The breakfast includes:
4 home made sausages
4 slices of dry cured bacon
2 slices of black pudding
2 free range eggs
The offer will run on Thursday, 16th November 2023; Friday, 17th November 2023; and Saturday, 18th November 2023.
The business prides itself on sourcing the very best British produce. Most of their beef is sourced locally in Cumbria.
Blackhurst Butchers launched a brand new App three years ago while customers can also order via phone or through their website, with a home delivery service available.
The shop is famous for its top quality local British produce, hand made sausages, legendary steaks and home prepared meals.
People with a taste for the more exotic can order items including: English Spatchcock Chickens (Greek Style or Piri Piri), Handmade Spring Lamb Koftas, Chinese Pork Steaks, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Stuffed Chicken Breast with a French Sauce, Caribbean Chicken and Spring Welsh Mini Lamb Kleftiko.
Tony Blackhurst, 56, is looking forward to celebrating the remarkable 60th anniversary milestone with local customers.
He said: “I took over running Blackhurst Butchers over 25 years ago, when Dad retired.
“I ran my own shop in Southport for eight years before that, Tony Blackhurst Butchers on Manchester Road.
“There used to be lots of butcher shops both inside Southport Market and in Southport town centre generally.
“Blackhurst Butchers is the only remaining town centre butchers shop.
“I think we are still here because we pride ourselves on quality.
“It is all about quality, that is what we have built our reputation on over 60 years.
“We have managed to keep going through some tough times, such as the Covid pandemic, as well as through two major market renovations, and the market fire almost 40 years ago, because we have a good solid base of customers who have been with us for years and who travel here from all over the country.
“We have regulars who come for the same thing every time, and regulars who come in keen to always try something different.
“We have customers who visit us from all over the country, from London to Scotland. Many are people who have moved away from the area and when coming to Southport to visit family they come to us to stock up and take enough meat home to last them until their next visit.
“We are really grateful for all the customers we have.
“I am glad I have stayed true to the Blackhurst Butcher principles of only selling the best quality meat. It has paid off with the repeat customers we have spreading the word of our quality to many new customers
“The meat you buy here tastes very different to what you might buy in a supermarket!”
Tony is delighted with the developments that have happened at Southport Market over the past couple of years.
He said: “I am really pleased with the changes they have made!
“Southport Market is thriving again. It has got a fantastic atmosphere.
“It is a great place for people to meet.
“It works really well. As well as selling to our customers, we also supply meat to some of the traders locally. Inside Southport Market we supply meat to the new Lenny’s outlet, to 600 Degrees pizza, and in Southport Market Quarter, we provide meat for Season Coffee, Bar and Kitchen on King Street.
“I am excited at seeing how the Southport Market Quarter is developing. There are some really positive changes happening.”
Fore more details please visit: https://blackhurstbutchers.co.uk
Download the new Blackhurst Butchers App here:
Google Play Store – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…
The minimum order for delivery is £35