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Chubbs

Chubbs is a butcher’s shop with a history you can get your teeth into.

Meat has been sold on the premises for around 100 years, estimates the present owner Dave Emms, which probably makes it the oldest shop in Sheen.


Customers love the fact that it still looks like a traditional butcher’s shop with white tiled walls, steel racks for hanging meat, and a wooden chopping block.

Amazingly, Sheen once boasted seven butchers, but only Chubbs and one other have survived.

Dave, born in Mortlake and a life-long Fulham fan, started work in the shop as a 17-year-old and has worked there ever since for the past 38 years.

He jokes that he only got the job because of a pair of scales.

“I had started work at another butchers when he decided to sell up,” he said.

“Mr Chubb offered to buy his scales but my boss said he would only sell them if I was included in the deal.  It was agreed and I came with the scales!”

It proved to be a good move and Dave and his assistant, Ken Tidy, are now among Sheen’s best-known traders.

He is very keen to praise his customers – “people in this area are fantastic.  They like to cook for themselves and they are interested in food.  I’ve been very lucky.”

Pointing out how the trade has changed over the years, he revealed that to save time many butchers get their meat already cut up and delivered in boxes.

But at Chubbs, Dave insists on the traditional method of having whole carcases delivered which he and Ken cut up themselves.
“I like to know it’s been done properly,” he says.

Likewise, the shop has a high reputation in the village for good quality meat as Dave buys his beef from Scotland and his lamb from Wales.

Demand for meat changes with the season, he explains, with the busiest period at Christmas.

Local families still love to cook the traditional turkey at this time which Dave sources from a farm near Eastbourne.

He sells around 250 turkeys at the festive season and there are often queues at the shop when locals come to collect their orders on Christmas Eve.

“I always say if you don’t have a good Christmas, you won’t be here the following year,” he laughs.

In the summer months, trade is lean, especially during the school holidays when families go away. Though good weather can also be a Godsend for a butcher, increasing demand for meat and sausages to cook on the barbecue.

Posters in the shop of cows and sheep show cuts and joints of meat and exactly where they come from on the animal.

It’s a traditional trade, epitimised by the shop’s 50-year-old chopping block, deeply grooved from half-a-century’s use, and scrubbed clean every night.

“I’m reluctant to replace it,” says Dave.  “I am rather hoping it will see me and Ken out!”

Alongside modern refridgerators at the rear of the shop, he also has an old cork-lined cold store which still works perfectly.

While the oldest item in the shop is the ancient ceiling fan which he believes was bought at an exhibition at Alexandra Palace around 1920.

Sadly it stopped working two years ago and Dave is loath to remove it, hoping he might find someone able to repair it.