15 January 2014
BBC4 features Britain's oldest family business R J Balson
This evening sees the first programme in a series of 3 featuring the oldest family businesses in Britain. Featuring R J Balson
, we hear the story of an incredible business that dates back almost 500 years and is the oldest family butcher's.
A local historian had told the current generation (28th generation!), Richard Balson, that a butcher’s licence was first granted to Robert Balson in 1535, a year before Ann Boleyn was beheaded. But deeper digging revealed the business was 20 years older than they can trace his ancestry right back to 1515 in an unbroken line, giving his shop the right to call itself the oldest family-run business in Britain – and perhaps the world.
Richard Balson states: "There were 80,000 butchers in Britain after the war; now there are only 12,000. But we offer something the supermarket bad boys can’t: after the horsemeat scandal, people want to know what they’re eating. Our meat is mainly local".