Our History

From the age of fourteen Ernest Wilson Edge had been a butcher: riding around the lanes of Broxton and Brown Knowl in a horse drawn cart, when in 1935, with ten years' experience, he took full time employment at Mr Potter’s butcher’s shop at 54 Handbridge. Just two years later, in 1937, he borrowed £100 to buy the bankrupt business of his employer to go it alone.

Shop Front 1930s A real local character, Ernie was determined to make his business succeed, and within two years had repaid his loan.

Always being at the centre of the community, 54 Handbridge has had a long, colourful history.

Starting life as a dairy, it was converted in 1865 to the Handbridge post office and run by William Lloyd, before being taken over by Mrs Ann Snelson in 1883. During the early 1890's a tripe dresser George Bronn was registered as living at the premises.

By 1896 Edward Lloyd a master butcher who went on to have four outlets throughout Chester had ownership of the property and it would stay in the Lloyd family until the early 1920s when it became John Edwards's butcher's shop, then Potter's butcher's shop in the early 1930's and then eventually Ernest W Edge in 1937.

From the location at 54 Handbridge, the charismatic Ernie became a well known local within Handbridge, catching the eye of Florence, the girl who lived next door to his shop.

On 1st January 1940 Ernie married Florrie and within a year they had a son, John. Ernie was called up six weeks later to fight for his country and wouldn’t return until 1947.

During those seven years Ernest W Edge Butchers continued to trade, run by Florrie who not only kept the business going, but made it stronger than before Ernie left. The Champion Beast

Ernie's return to Chester saw him continue his dream of developing the business into a top class butcher's shop. A particular focus for Ernie was to buy the Prize Beast at the Chester Fatstock market Christmas sale every year, ensuring that the firm of Ernest W Edge was always synonymous with quality.

In 1955 aged just 15, Ernest and Florrie's son John joined the business. John would work his entire 50 working years within the business becoming a partner with his father before taking over the business on his own. Inside Shop 1970s

In 1956, Florrie's old home at 56 Handbridge was incorporated into the shop.

The emergence of the supermarkets threatened the very existence of shops such as Ernest W Edge & Son as it was now known. John continued with his parents' philosophy of providing the best meat at the best price for his customers.

And despite various food scares in the farming industry and the emergence of the supermarkets the loyal customers of Ernest W Edge & Sons have continued their patronage. Two Generations

In 1993 John's son Bruce joined the family firm and for a short while three generations of the Edge family worked behind the counter. Bruce brought new ideas in to the business as legislation and public taste changed.

In 2001 the shop was completely renovated for the third time to incorporate 400 year old Oregon pine beams that had been reclaimed from an old waterways building near Nantwich and fitted out with the finest quality Italian marble tiles. The renovation was completed by the same team who worked on Harrod's Food Hall.

Four butchers 2011 In 2003, that vision and hard work was rewarded when the business was recognised as Chester's best food retailer at the Chester Food and Drink Festival.

John retired in 2005 and since then Bruce has continued his father's and grandfather's vision of a butcher's shop selling the finest quality of locally sourced produce at the best price.

This year, 2012 will mark the 75th Anniversary since Ernie took that bold and brave step to establish his business and with a fourth generation of Edge already with us he would be proud that the business that carries his name is in good hands and has a bright future.