On 17th May 1888 Stephen John Church opened his first Butchers (Pork) Shop in High Street, Epping; specialising in the sausage trade. Up to 1895 all sausages were made completely by hand, however as demand increased Stephen decided to purchase a gas-engined sausage machine.
1900's - 1950's
Early in the 20th Century the business was expanded by the purchase of a further shop opposite St John Church to sell beef and lamb. With two shops open in 1928 it was decided to demolish the first butchers shop and totally refurbish and rebuild this. This building was the first in Epping town to be fitted with electrics and hence a new electrical sausage machine was purchased. It was considered the most modern and up to date premises in Epping with white tiled walls and marbled shelves fitted out by Messrs Sage & Co, together with the mahogany shop front and cash desk. It was at this time the first lady (Miss Saunders) was taken on as cashier.
From the time of rebuilding until 1939 trade built up and with a motor van the wholesale trade increased. Sausages were delivered early morning to London and were also sent by train in the care of guards on the LNER steam passenger service from Epping Station.
At the outbreak of The Second World War Church's got its permits to trade in wholesale and retail pork butchery. This meant that no rationed meat was sold at the Pork Shop, only manufacturered items such as sausages, pies and brawn. Sadly Stephen John Church died in 1943 aged 80 having spent 55 years serving the people of Epping and district with quality meat, sausages and pies. He left half of the business equally to his two sons; Cyril and Jim.
1950's - 2000
The business continued to grow and in 1958 it constituted three shops in Epping and shops at Potter Street, North Weald and Ongar. Behind the Epping (Pork) Shop was the sausage and pie factory. At this time there were four directors; Cyrill and his son Allan, and Jim and his son Derek who decided to split the business in two. The retail shops were taken over by Jim and Derek, with the exemption of the first two shops brought and Cyrill and Allan took over the manufacturing business.
Due to the continued increase in wholesale sales of sausages, pies and frozen food, more production space was needed. At the rear of the Pork Shop and factory was an old slaughter house which was then erected as a new two storey factory of 3,000sq ft. Sadly, in May 1960 Cyril died at the age of 69 whilst out delivering pies in a company van.
David Church (Allan’s son) joined as a director in the business, along with his dad and Paul Parker. Paul took over the managerial role in 1986 from Allan and became the first non-family member to be appointed as director of the company.
2000 to present day
Sadly in 2008 Allan died at the age of 85 and is remembered for all of his hard work, dedication and excellent customer service he provided the Epping community; clearly attributes that were passed down through generations of the Church’s family.
In the 1880’s there were ten butchers shops in Epping; by the 1960’s there were six shops and in 1988 this figure was reduced to three. As time went on all of the Church’s butchers shops in all locations were sold except Church’s (Pork) Butchers Ltd which is now the only butchers left on Epping High Street today.
For more detail and images on the history of Church's Butchers please click here