There were 30 of these family firms on one Sunderland street

Gibbon's in High Street West.
Gibbon's in High Street West.
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The butcher’s shop in Sunderland and Wearside has certainly changed down the years.

Philip Curtis, of the Sunderland Antiquarian society, looks back.

Ibbitson's in Jacky White's Market in the 1960s.

Ibbitson's in Jacky White's Market in the 1960s.

In the early 1900s, meat was very much part of the staple diet of Wearsiders.

Butchers flourished in Sunderland and High Street alone boasted more than 30 shops. Family butchers were evident and most Wearsiders would usually support their favourite local butcher.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century the sight of cattle walking along the streets was certainly not unusual.

The names of many of the popular local butchers’ shops can still be recalled by most Wearsiders.

Butchers flourished in Sunderland. The city was packed with them and High Street alone boasted more than thirty shops.

Philip Curtis

Crowtree Road had R.D. Jeffrey’s which stood on the corner of Fenwick Street and was known throughout the town as ‘Jeffrey’s Juicy Joints’.

The largest in High Street West was A.G. Gibbons & Sons. Three generations of the family were involved in the business.

Albert Gibbons began by helping his father, Albert Snr with meat deliveries for their first shop.

The business flourished in the 1950s when rationing ceased and the shop began selling half-a-crown fry-ups (steak, lamb chops, liver and black pudding).

An advert for Jeffrey's.

An advert for Jeffrey's.

These proved so successful they couldn’t keep up with the demand. They also introduced a gimmick with Albert wearing a bowler hat and his staff all with trilbies.

The firm employed six butchers and did brisk business supplying shops and rigs, not only on the River Wear but also the Tyne and Tees. The third generation, also called Albert, joined the firm and further shops opened.

Many old family butchers no longer exist but Ibbitson’s, in Jacky White’s market, is among those continuing the traditions of the old family shop.

A cow being led down the High Street.

A cow being led down the High Street.