Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

Messrs. Skinner - Butchers

Extract from the memories of Mr Henry Hobbs:

“I was born,” he said, “on the very spot where Skinner’s butcher’s shop stands now, in 1851. It was butcher’s shop then, but kept in a thatched house, and we lived in the house at the end.

1872 bill
1872 bill to Charles Hewitt

c1900 Skinners' Farmhouse

Skinner's farm was opposite The Green, at the junction of Wellingborough Road and High Street South. They had their own slaughterhouse and sold the meat from a shop in the farmhouse, at the top of the hill, named after the family as "Skinner's Hill", and the shop faced the Church.
1970s showing old out-buildings and the farmhouse built 1896

The butcher's shop of George Skinner when his son George Henry Skinner was trading there, in an avert dated 1911. It faced the Church and the Green, and stood at the top of the hill now called after the family "Skinner's Hill". The name is known throughout the locality, as the bus stops at the bottom of the hill are called now the same, having earlier been known as "The Lightstrung" after a cyle shop and garage at the foot of the hill.
The family had invested in various properties in High Street South and Wellingborough Road by 1910, but did not purchase the farm until 1929.

The farm was part of the Rushden Hall Estate, and this was sold in 1929 when the Sartoris family left the Hall, following the death of Arthur Sartoris. The farmhouse and shop was Lot no 2 in the property sale, and there was also a contents sale.

Farmhouse & shop
The house and shop when H Cooper kept it

George Skinner (born 17th April 1817) and his two brothers, Eli (born 1815) and Henry (born 1819), were all baptised in Rushden on 18th April 1824, as sons of William (farmer) & Sarah. William had died and was buried, aged 42, at St Mary's Church on 14th April 1820. Sarah remarried in October the following year, to Thomas Brawn.

As a young man, George went to Bedford and set up a business as a butcher there. He married Hannah Banks (born Hail Weston) in 1839, and their first child Ann was born in 1840 in Bedford. They moved to Rushden and their son George Henry was born in 1842 (and baptised in October 1843), and his twin brothers, Robert (died aged 3) and Morris in 1844, and William Banks was born in 1849. On 23rd September 1849 George and Morris were baptised again with their new baby brother, and George was well established as a butcher. In 1859 his wife Hannah died, and in 1861 George was farming 50 acres of land, and he was a churchwarden at St. Mary's Church.

In 1869 George married again, to Jane Harris from Alconbury, HUN, and the family were now farming 400 acres, on the Home Farm of Rushden Hall Estate, and had the butcher's shop. Two years later, his son William Banks Skinner married Jane Lilley at Rushden. William was a commercial traveller in the drapery trade, and then in leather trade, and in 1881 he went into partnership with Thomas Lilley, and the company was renamed Messrs Lilley and Skinner.

06 April 1872 - Northampton Mercury

WANTED, APPRENTICE to the BUTCHERING BUSINESS; must be good scholar. A small premium required.
Address, G. H. and M. Skinner, Rushden.

Skinner's farm was opposite The Green, at the junction of Wellingborough Road and High Street South. They had their own slaughterhouse and sold the meat from a shop in the farmhouse, at the top of the hill, named after the family as "Skinner's Hill", and the shop faced the Church.

George senior was a well respected member of the church and served as churchwarden for over 50 years. He was also an overseer of the poor, and was a familiar sight around the town riding a tricycle, and he had lived to become the oldest inhabitant in Rushden when he died in 1914, aged 97 years.

Son George Henry had taken over the butchery business in 1865, whilst George senior concentrated on the farming. He and Jane retired about 1885, when they left the businesses in the hands of his sons, and moved to 13 Park-road, close to son Morris.

About 1895, George junior opened a second shop at 196 Wellingborough Road, where his son, William H Skinner, born 1871, was in charge. During WWI his father was ill, and William moved back to the High Street shop, and his shop was taken over by Frederick Collins, as a grocery shop to trade alongside his dairy business at 182 Wellingborough Road. George Henry died in 1918.

Outbuildings and park wall A closer view of the outbuildings & church
Farm oubuildings and gate across the lane to the Hall
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 16th June, 1950 - Picture left above
Over a century old, these buildings in Skinner’s Hill, Rushden, provide the foreground to an unusual view of St Mary’s Church. Originally the property of Squire Sartoris, they comprise a slaughter-house, loft and stables, and fasting pen.
Mr George Skinner, grandfather of the present butcher in High St. South, was the original tenant, but they have not been in use since private slaughtering was abolished prior to the war.
Rushden Echo, 10th November 1899

An Accident happened on Saturday afternoon to Mr Herbert Skinner, son of Mr G H Skinner. He had consented to act as mounted marshal for the cycle parade, and prior to the starting of the procession from the grounds of Rushden Hall his horse took fright and reared. Mr Skinner was thrown to the ground, and the horse rolled on to him hurting his leg, but not seriously, and in a few minutes he was able to walk to the Hall where he rested for a time. Meanwhile the horse bolted but was soon caught.

Cottages (below-left) are "Home Close" where Samuel Knight
once lived, now the site of the Scout Headquarters
Skinner's Hill
Looking down Skinner's Hill - the Lighstrung buildings in the distance
Behind the large tree is Claridge's factory
The building extreme right was a proposed swimming pool
Extract from a Military Tribunal in May 1918

Alfred Pettit, 40 slaughterman and Arthur Ball, both working for Mr. Herbert Skinner, butcher. Cases adjourned for Mr. Skinner to appear.

George Copson
George Copson was butcher's boy - The Cart has 'G H Skinner & Son' along the side at the top of the wheel.
The photo was taken at Souldrop c1912.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us