Hearn & Sons Butchers – Boy in a Mans World

Hearn & Sons Butchers
252 London Road,

Sometime in 1975, me and Mungo went for a walk to look for a job, as everyone else had paper rounds or worked on the milk, so we thought we would try the butcher shops in Mitcham. The nearest one was the little butcher shop next door to the Bull, Stophers I think? Mungo went in first as we were going to take turns and I was gonna ask next. Mungo drew blank so it was up to me next, we stopped at Hearns and I meekly went through the door and spoke to the manager, asked and and he said come in on Saturday. Result!!!

Saturday Boy

So, that Saturday morning at 8 o'clock, there I was getting thrown the butcher's coat and an apron and got to work, bloody hell did I work hard. There was a lot to do on the Saturday, when I first arrived in the morning I'd have to get the meat out of the fridges as the shop men were dressing the front window, I would also be running round putting fresh sawdust on floor, putting out the blind and such jobs like that.

Once the shop was set for the day, it was time for a cup of tea and some breakfast, we had a single burner and a massive frying pan, and being in the butcher shop, what do you fancy for breakfast? Anything you like! Then crack on with getting the orders ready, when that was done I would load the trade bike up and be on my way.

Orders and Deliveries

I used to deliver to half a dozen regular places at least, The White Hart, where I have my first-ever beer. Glebelands old peoples home. 12 Imperial Gardens. 351a London Rd, just past the White Hart. 14 Albert Rd, who always used to order the smallest 1/2 shoulder of lamb, and in the shop they called her Mrs half shoulder of mouse. Fred Grays Yard always had a nice big joint of beef, normally an Aitch Bone. 6 Downe Rd, 12 Biggin Ave, next door to Steve Stroud, who had painted on his back garden gate “Beware of Mrs Stroud” Probably quite appropriate.

So there you go some of my day at the butcher's shop and how I signed up. Yeah was quite an experience, young boy working with men for the first time, but always a laugh.


The managers name was Ken Wright, someone I tracked down recently and turned up on his doorstep one day, we sat out in the sun talking shop for an hour, was great to see him again.

There were two old shop men, one called Bert Huddy, who drove a Bren gun carrier up through Italy in the war, so tea breaks were always so funny, he was like uncle Albert with the war stories, yeah and he was always singing mammy. Ernie I can't remember his last name but used to drive an Austin and he was a miserable old sod.

Then there was Bernie Taylor, he was older...35 ish, a more experienced butcher who used to work mainly on the blocks out the back, he could tear down a hind quarter into joints quicker than quick, he was a great butcher and funny man.

Also out the back were two young butchers. Keith Badham, he knew how to sling a boning knife, and Clive Jones who was quite a funny fucker too, and myself on a Saturday. All for 2 pounds and a big bag of meat for my mum. I thought it was a good deal, but was a lot of graft.


When I came back from doing the round, and sorted the cash, I'd have to go and do the stock and clean the fridges with one of the butchers. We had a big big scale and a steelyard, and every Saturday used to take every bit of meat out of the fridge one at a time, weigh it, log it and restock it.

Fridges needed cleaning as well so I'd stack all the stock at one end, sweep out, then wash it and bleach it with bucket and brooms, throw fresh sawdust down and move all the stock back. And that's all before lunchtime! In between time that there was always a chicken or 2 to be trussed, which was obviously my job.

After lunch, the shop was starting to wind down as most of the trade had been done before 2 o'clock, I had already scrubbed two of the blocks earlier and the shop men were clearing the trays and the green strips from the front fridge out the back to the kitchen, where I was washing up, plenty of soap, plenty of bleach, lovely smells clean.

As time went on and the shop was getting clear, I`d pull in the blind, sweep the shop and put fresh sawdust down, we pulled the shutters down at 3:30 and I`d wander home with my big bag of meat, the manager really always looked after us and I'd have a joint of beef pork or whatever and a load of sausages bacon ham eggs, there were always a few chops in there to, happy days!