Wolverhampton butcher shop to close after 119 years in the city
"An end of an era." – A traditional butcher's shop in Wolverhampton is set to close after more than 100 years of business.
F Ward (W-ton) Butcher, which has spent 119 years in the city, will close on March 30 due to a lack of trade.
Paul Levett, who runs the business, said: "It is with much regret that I have to announce the forthcoming closure of F Ward Butchers.
"The last three years has seen the trade deteriorate due to the passing of long-standing customers – these have not been replaced – and the area is no longer the traditional shopping parade it once was.
"I have been at the shop in total 41 years and it has certainly changed from when I started in the late 70s.
"It was not an easy option.
"In that time the area has changed, shopping has changed and young people do their shopping in the supermarket – that's how it's gone.
"I've grown up where the business is and it's changed so much.
"I went there as a 14-year-old and cleaned up there.
"My customers have either moved or passed away and they've not been replaced.
"It's gone on and on and it's not easy to come to that decision."
The shop dates back to 1900 when Frank Ward Senior had his first shop, located near the corner of Derry Street.
In 1950, when Frank Ward Junior had finished his national service in the RAF, his dad bought him the lease of the Fighting Cocks shop which he was there until June 1993.
Mr Levett took over the running of the business in 1993 when Frank retired.
The 57-year-old added: "Although the last couple of years have been very challenging, one of my most memorable moments at the shop has to be when we celebrated 60 years at Fighting Cocks in 2010.
"It has been a privilege to serve people from all walks of life and cultures over the years and many of those have been with me my whole time there.
"It is with a heavy heart that I have to close, but I believe it is the right decision in the long run.
"The final day of business will be March 30 as we mark the end of an era as the last traditional butchers shop on Dudley Road in Wolverhampton."
Mr Levett, who lived on Goldthorn Park, intends to take a break from the trade before going onto something new.
He said: "I rent the shop, so it will go back to the landlord.
"I've been a proprietor for 26 years.
"I'm totally getting out of the trade altogether. I'm having a breather then going onto something new.
"There's still butchers around the town who do well but they are in a fortunate area where it's still traditional shopping areas like Tettenhall and Codsall.
"They're fortunate, my area was just like that at one time."