Family butchers Ruse & Son reflects on 160-year history in Long Melford after shutting doors for final time
The owner of a family butchers, which had traded in Long Melford for more than a century before shutting up shop last week, has reflected on the venture’s extensive history.
Established in 1860, Ruse & Son had been passed down through five generations of the same family for 160 years.
Lizzie Cross, who took over the business with her father, Henry, in 2015, said she hoped another enterprise would establish its own history at the site in Hall Street.
“It was time for us to close and enable other people to take on the mantle,” she said. “We are very grateful to all our suppliers, customers and our amazing staff.”
Teverson Ruse, Mrs Cross’ great-great-grandfather, who set up the butchers in the village, had originally worked as a miller, but was forced to pursue another career after suffering from asthma.
His son, Henry, joined his father at the family business in 1878, before being accompanied by his wife, Florence.
“She was quite a formidable woman,” said Mrs Cross.
In 1939, Henry’s son, Fred, took over the business before operations were handed over to Mrs Cross’ father, Henry, in 1966.
Mrs Cross’ brother, Oliver, worked at the business with his father for seven years, before she took over his role in 2015.
Reminiscing about the history of the site, Mrs Cross said she had always been fascinated about the family business – thanks to the stories that were passed down through the generations.
“I have lovely memories of talking with my great-grandmother,” said the 52-year-old. “She could remember when the shop used to graze cattle on the green in Long Melford.”
As she grew up, Mrs Cross became more involved in the industry, accompanying family members to nearby markets.
“I remember going to Bury St Edmunds cattle market with my grandfather when all the farmers would bring in their livestock,” she said. “We used to go there and purchase our own cattle.
“When I was a child, we had our own dairy cattle that we reared ourselves, and we owned chickens.”
Praising the close ties that the business had established with the community, Mrs Cross said supporting local traders had been a key element of the business.
“We have brought from them for the last 50 years,” she said.
Until recently, the business had operated its own on-site abattoir.
Reflecting on the loyalty of the villagers, Mrs Cross said they would be greatly missed, adding: “Most of our customers have been our friends.”
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