Sweetland’s Ltd came in to being in December 1952 when John Sweetland, my father, purchased the premises at 10 Stortford Road, Great Dunmow from the Lucking brothers who ran a butchers shop at that address. The business then became known as J.G. Sweetland.
I joined the business when I left school and, a few years later, so did my stepbrother, Dean. My father retired some years ago, at the age of 70, but still shows a great deal of interest in the business which he built up. Dean left in 1992 to pursue another career path so, since that time, I have been running the business and in 2006 Sweetland’s became a limited company.
Number 10, Stortford Road, Great Dunmow, has been an established butchers shop since around the turn of the century, but its origins go back, in part, to the 17th century when it was thought to have been a coaching inn. The buildings are listed (Grade II) and form a courtyard at the rear where the original stabling is still in evidence. The exterior and interior of the shop looks very much the same as it did when my father took over the business in 1952. Obviously, the shop has had to be updated to a certain degree to comply with modern day regulations, but I wish to keep the shop as traditional as possible and spoil its character.
The shop, along with a couple more in the town, featured in ‘The Belles of St Trinian’s’ film in 1954 (see newspaper report) and my father, John, and members of staff can be seen hurrying to put the shutters as news spreads that the school bus was on its way! The shop has been filmed a few times over the years, one Film Company coming from as far away as China!