Wellbeloved Butchers is a famed Butchers situated on Tanner's Hill, Deptford. With nearly 200 years of business behind it, it is one of the most venerable local businesses' around, and attracts customers from far and wide. We had to explore the history of this treasured local gem...
William Wilfred Wellbeloved began the family run butchers in 1829. It was (and still is) an incredibly successful business, providing only the highest quality meat for Deptford and the South East. I spoke to Bill Wellbeloved, the current owner, about the history and inner workings of one of London’s most illustrious and traditional butchers.
Wellbeloved Butchers now resides at 31 Tanner’s Hill Deptford and walking into the shop I was immediately struck by the friendliness and quality of service provided by Bill. A delightfully amiable man who holds dear the concept of an independent shop, with personal, over-the-counter service, Bill greatly values his business and the extensive history behind it. In a world where new builds and the increasing dominance of major supermarkets spread through London every day, Bill caters for those who seek high quality, reasonable prices and the reassurance of knowing exactly where your food was sourced.
Bill explained to me how the business had changed hands through various members of the Wellbeloved family throughout the years. 13A-39 Deptford High Street is where the original butchers started. The Orient Chinese Restaurant now lies on the original site, however 187 years ago, the butchers, a small farm and a slaughterhouse made up the space along the high street.
Charlie Wellbeloved had 7 sons and one daughter and along with a chap named Uncle Sid (a cousin of the brothers) the family ran several shops in the South East, having taken it on from the forefather William Wilfred. The Wellbeloved’s were known for their shops on Deptford High Street, Bexleyheath and Evelyn Street. However the High Street establishment was where the heart of the business lay.
During the war, Bill’s grandfather was called up, as was Bill’s father, who was stationed in Dover. The business was closed for the duration and when they returned, Uncle Sid was managing the High Street shop and brought Bill’s father in as a slaughter man. After the passing of Sid, Bill’s father took control and in 1986, after his untimely death, Wellbeloved Butchers became Bill’s business.
Bill has now been at the Tanner’s Hill site for 40 years and is incredibly proud of his family’s history in the area. The Wellbeloved’s could be seen in the 19th Century delivering and transporting their meat by horse and cart throughout Deptford. Although the times have moved on a bit since then, the warmth and personable aspect of a family establishment can certainly be felt the moment you step over the threshold.
During my time spent chatting with Bill, students entered the shop to buy top quality back legs of beef and families stopped by on the way home from school to choose from the array of meat on offer for their dinner. Although the Wellbeloved Farm is no more, having been sold by Uncle Sid, Bill prides himself on serving traceable meats. The ecological aspect of food buying and knowing exactly where the animal was reared, is becoming increasingly more important and is something that Bill recognizes. His sauces that perfectly compliment his meat come from Bambury Farm in Oxfordshire. Pickled Sauces and Piccalilli line the shelves and are a must buy as an accompaniment to the succulent meats. Bill’s chicken and pork are Packington, a free range farm in Barton-under-Needwood. It's knowledge such as this that is so valuable in a day and age when concerns over maltreatment of livestock is high.
Finally, Wellbeloved Butchers have acquired a name for themselves as the only place to go in London for homemade pies. Reviewed extensively online, the Wellbeloved pies have become famous for their astounding taste and texture. Unfortunately Bill couldn’t part with the special recipe. However, he said that 20 years ago, himself and a colleague were messing about with various ingredients and just happened to strike gold. It’s a simple concoction that achieves sublimity by the way the meat is slow-cooked to allow it to melt in the mouth. The pies are packed to the brim; nothing is scrimped on and are incredible value for money. The pies draw a lot people to Deptford and are enticing customers from far and wide.
Head down to Wellbeloved Butchers for a taste of its extensive history and while you’re there be sure to pick up a pie or two, to not do so would be a crying mis-steak… With your Lewisham Card, the discount will mean that your weekly meat supply is coming from the very best of London’s independent and beloved family butchers.
Wellbeloved Butchers offer a 10% discount to Lewisham Card holders when you spend over £30.
Still missing out on savings in over 130 local businesses? Order your Lewisham Card here and start saving now!