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The Croydon butcher's that doesn't just make sausages, it helps make babies too...


IS THIS Croydon's most fertile chair?

An odd question maybe, but a butcher's shop celebrating its centenary could be behind its own mini-baby boom.

H Hartwell and Sons, in Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, has been run by various generations of the Hartwell family ever since it opened on the very day war broke out a century ago.

For 25 years they have had a chair in the shop and many women who have sat on it have got pregnant shortly afterwards.

Robert Hartwell, the grandson of H Hartwell, now runs the shop.

He explained: "Over the years many ladies who have sat on the chair have ended up having babies, so I warn women customers not to sit on the chair unless they want to get pregnant.

"It's obviously got some magical powers."

The Hartwell family butchers, which opened in 1914, has run through seven generations of the family.

"When I was born they didn't say it's a little bouncing baby boy, they said it's a little bouncing baby butcher," Robert joked.

Robert's grandfather, Harold, was working in a butcher's when a builder called Mr Truett spotted him.

He suggested Harold set up his own business and offered to do up an old shop for him in exchange for a lifetime's supply of free meat.

Harold agreed but hit trouble when he discovered that he needed to be married to start the business. So he married Rose, a girl who worked in a hat shop in Brigstock Road, and opened H Hartwell Butchers on the first day of the First World War: August 4, 1914.

Harold's son Roy started working in the shop when he left school at 19 and Robert started giving him a hand when he was just 13.

Now 63, he has worked in the shop, which has never changed hands, for 50 years.

There is one house in Carew Road that H Hartwell and Sons have been delivering meat to since their first day of business.

Robert said that his grandfather knocked on their front door that day to introduce himself and they ordered half a pound of pork chops, costing five old pence.

The same family stayed in the house, always ordering their meat from the same butcher's, until ten years ago.

The people who moved into the house have carried on ordering their meat from Robert until this day. "But they order lamb chops instead," he added.

Robert said the secret to the shop's success is their relationship with their customers.

He said: "We treat our customers as friends; we're on first name terms with everyone."

And he said it's his special recipe sausages that keep them coming back.

"I can't tell you the secret ingredients; they've been passed down through three generations of the family," he added.

The Croydon butcher's that doesn't just make sausages, it helps make babies too...

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