Edwardian butcher’s shop, Conwy
Edwardian butcher’s shop, 17 Bangor Road
This building was erected in 1909-1910 for a local butcher. The period fittings, revealed during renovation in 2012, provide an insight into hygiene methods in butchers’ shops before stainless steel.
As you stand outside, look up at the ornate ventilation grilles above the windows and door. Carcasses were displayed from hooks on the rails above the windows. The large brass handles on the window frames were used to raise the broad sash windows, allowing customers in the street to see the meat displayed inside the window openings. The glazed green bricks below window level were part of the presentation.
If the shop’s open, enter and listen to the tinkle of the original bell above the door. Look closely at the tiles on the left wall and you’ll see hundreds of chips and marks in a horizontal line. These were made by butchers’ knives as they were flung down on the chopping block, which ran along this wall. The wooden counters, each side of the entrance, have marble tops sloping towards the windows. The broad groove near the foot of the slope caught any blood that trickled from the meat.
The pre-1907 photo on the right shows Bangor Road and Thomas Telford's archway through the medieval town wall, with a shack of corrugated metal on the site of 17 Bangor Road. Butcher David Owens then occupied the building next door, 19 Bangor Road. His business was founded in 1896. In 1909 he applied for permission to build a shop and house for himself at 17 Bangor Road. The premises were known as Tower Buildings by the 1950s. The family business continued to trade here until 1971.
The family owned Rhos Mill Farm, in Gyffin. Livestock from local farms was fattened on fields now covered by the Castle View housing estate. Animals were slaughtered there and taken to the cold room at the back of the shop.
When the shop was re-fitted for non-food retail, many of the original fittings were covered over, rather than being removed. The shop was used at different times by a locksmith or to sell antiques, gifts, shoes and ladies’ clothing. In summer 2012 the original interior was revealed and refurbished and the shop reopened as Luther & Co, selling household goods, artwork and antiques.
With thanks to Ray Castle, and to Llew Groom of Aberconwy Historical Society
Postcode: LL32 8NG