LAST week we visited Woodward & Son, butchers, High Street, Blackwood, and received the following replies:
● Keith Richards, Pontnewydd: “This week’s ‘Now & Then’ photographs are of an old established butchers by the name of Woodward, who for some 70 years plied their trade on the High Street in Blackwood. I believe, like so many Blackwood businessmen, he came from the West Country in the very early 1900s. Their butchery premises looks in many ways like a public house and, in fact, it was called the Yew Tree Inn and records show it was built in pre- Victorian times around 1810, one of the earliest buildings on the High Street.
“It is said that Zephaniah Williams, one of the three main Chartist leaders, although a native of Argoed, lived there for a time before the Chartist Riots in 1839.
“The sign states ‘Woodward & Son’, but I know for a fact that other sons followed into the business. I can vividly remember during the war years my mother and grandmother were both registered customers at Woodwards and had to produce their ration books before being served.
“Up to 1939/40 all Woodwards’ meat was slaughtered nearby in Pig Head Lane, now known as Gravel Lane, and in the years between the wars cattle were herded up the High Street to the slaughter house. Other butchers in the town were the Tuckers and the Browns, who are still trading.
“On the opposite side of High Street stood the George Inn and Theo Abrams’ General Store. I was very friendly with his son, Julian, who at a young age helped in the store on Saturdays.”
● H Dumayne and M Morgan, Blackwood (former employees): “The Now & Then photo in the South Wales Argus dated July 10 is Woodward Butchers, Blackwood. I started working at the butchers when I left school at the age of 14, that was in 1937 and I worked there for around 20 years.
“Mr Percy Woodward was the owner. He had three sons, Arthur, Evan and Richard, who took over the business after his passing.
“Evan and his wife, Floss, had another shop in Maesycwmmer, which is still a butchers shop, but under the name of Cranes.
“The small shop on the side sold cooked meats, faggots, etc, that were all cooked on the premises.
The lady that worked there was called Dolly Murin and the delivery man was Albert Meek.
“There was also a stall across the road which was on the top of Blackwood Market in the 1950s.
“Son Richard went to Peters Pie Factory in Bedwas when they opened their butcher department in the 1970s.
“Woodwards the Butchers was a landmark in the middle of the High Street in Blackwood.”
● The butcher’s shop of Woodward & Son on Blackwood High Street in 1922. This building was erected c. 1830 and was known as The Yew Tree Inn. For some time it was the home of Zephaniah Williams, one of the Chartist leaders.
In 1854 it became a butcher’s shop. Two of the windows at the back of house were blocked up to avoid paying the window tax.
There was also a stone mounting block in front for the use of the horse-riding customers.”
● Last week’s photograph and paragraph above courtesy of Blackwood Yesterday in Photographs, by Ewart Smith