G Stevenson butcher's shop, in Portland Street, Derby, to close after nearly 128 years
A BUTCHER'S shop in Derby which was founded nearly 128 years ago will close for the final time on Saturday.
G Stevenson, in Portland Street, has been passed down from generation to generation since it first opened in 1885.
But now owner John Culling is retiring after 49 years in the meat trade.
Mr Culling, 64, said: "I always wanted to be a butcher. I used to visit the slaughterhouse when I was young."
While at school, he began helping at the Portland Street shop which was then owned by his uncle, George Stevenson.
He said: "I used to ride the butcher's bike when I was about 13 or 14 and deliver the orders to Sinfin, Littleover, all over the place.
"I'd come back and clean up and we'd be done for about 2.30pm. I'd earn 50p (10 shillings) a day for about six or seven hours' work. That was good money in those days."
After leaving school at 15, in 1964, he began working full-time at the shop.
"I started off boning pig's heads and learning to keep my fingers out of the way," he said.
"In the first six months I had two lots of stitches on my hand because I was cutting the meat towards my fingers. I soon learnt not to do that."
Mr Culling, who lives in Deans Drive, Borrowash, said he felt "proud" that the business had been passed through his family.
He said: "My dad worked at British Rail for 49 years but my mum helped out at the butcher's shop making coffee and taking orders out.
"I enjoyed working with my uncle, especially on Wednesdays, as he used to take me out fishing in the afternoon.
After the death of his uncle in 1990, John has managed the shop single-handedly.
"It's long hours," he said.
"I work six days a week and sometimes 12-hour days – that's why my family aren't interested in taking it on.
"Trimming the fat off a goat can take me two hours alone. It's all got to be prepared ready for the following day.
"With working on my own I have to stop and serve and there are lots of other jobs to do as well.
"Not much has changed over the years but we sell a lot of goat nowadays."
It was only last February when the hard-working butcher took his first day off sick.
He said: "I dropped a piece of meat weighing 130lb and the bones ripped my hand. It wouldn't stop bleeding so I had to go to hospital and have the next day off which was my very first."
John said he will spend his retirement with wife Jean, 59, son Richard, 32, and daughter Rachel, 35.
He said: "I'll miss talking to the customers.
"I've had lots of cards and bottles and people have said they don't know what to do without me, which is touching."