Turnbull’s celebrates 142 years of family business spanning six-generations as part of National Butchers’ Week

Alnwick butchers Turnbull’s Northumbrian Food are celebrating National Butchers’ Week (March 6-12) and their 142nd birthday this week.

The national event celebrates UK butchers and highlights the passion, heritage and skills of butchers across the country

“National Butchers’ Week is a great opportunity for us to bang the drum for the local butcher and remind people that your local craft butcher has knowledge about meat that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Dan Turnbull, the sixth-generation custodian of his family business, which was established in 1880 by Roger Turnbull.

The business first traded on Clayport Street, Alnwick – not far from the current premises. Roger passed the business to his two sons, Murdie and John, who were followed by Murdie’s son Robert.

Robert, better known as Bobby, moved the business to its Market Street location during the 1950s. With his wife, Ada, they had three sons and a daughter. While Elizabeth married and relocated, their sons – Roger, Peter and John – later took over the running of the business.

During the 1970s the brothers bought the shop next door, Pitt’s Drapers, and knocked the two shops into one, opening a Greengrocers and Sandwich Bar in the extended shop.

Roger Turnbull retired from the business in 2003 and Peter in 2005, although both brothers are occasionally found calling in to give a helping hand and make the coffee. John’s son Mark joined the business in 1987 and took it on with his father in 2005. John semi-retired in 2011, leaving Mark to run the shop. John still remains a fixture in the shop, in his words “keeping everyone right”.

In 2012 Mark’s son, Daniel, joined the family firm after graduating from Loughborough University with a physics degree. Sadly, Peter passed away in 2015 – and is always remembered by customers for his smile.

In 2019, the business diversified to keep up with modern demand with the introduction of the flagship Turnbull’s Northumbrian Food Hall alongside retail giant Marks & Spencer’s – dubbed by locals as The Home of Northumbrian Food, and The Harrods of the North by visitors and tourists.

Turnbull’s are one of the town’s biggest small business employers, currently employing more than team members. It is this passion that allows the business to be at the cutting edge of the retail meat industry.

Matthew Slack, Turnbull’s sales & marketing manager, added: “The expansion and diversification over the years has been key to the continuing success and development of the business. A member of the Guild of Q Butchers, a national body of more than 200 elite butchers and independent meat retailers, we are committed to offering top quality meat and meat-related products, with customer service to match”.

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