Butcher makes most of cross-channel link

MEATING OF MINDS ... Dorothy Ramser helping out curator Adam Bell ahead of the start of the exhibition on her familys thriving butcher business on Saturday.

MEATING OF MINDS ... Dorothy Ramser helping out curator Adam Bell ahead of the start of the exhibition on her familys thriving butcher business on Saturday.

A SOUTH Tyneside butchers is calling on a family French connection – as it gets set to serve up a diamond celebration of its rich history.

Family pork butchers Dicksons is giving residents food for thought with the launch of an exhibition at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery this weekend giving a taste of its 60 years in business.

Now an extra ingredient has been thrown into the melting pot after Dorothy Ramser – the youngest child of founders Irwin and Helen Dickson – flew in from her home in the south of France to help add the finishing touches to the exhibition.

Mrs Ramser, 57, has been studying the roots of the Dicksons’ family business, which are said to go back to the late 1700s.

She has been helping the museum to piece together the company’s history on South Tyneside with old family photos and company literature.

The exhibition will feature interviews with members of the Dickson family who were only small children when the business started back in 1953 and merely teenagers when they were left in charge of the burgeoning business after the sudden death of their parents.

Visitors to the exhibition will be asked to share what their favourite Dicksons’ products are and why.

The blast from the past will detail the thriving firm’s rise from a single shop at The Nook in South Shields to a successful retail chain boasting 22 stores and more than 200 staff.

Food lovers can see how palates have changed through the years, with pigs ears and pork knuckles giving way on the menu to the array of pies and sausages dished up today.

Michael Dickson, managing director of Dicksons and son of its founder, is hoping that the exhibition will be of real interest to both the company’s older customers, who will share many of the memories, and today’s younger customers, who will be able to see the roots of their favourite products. He said: “There are many parts of the business today that are totally unrecognisable from 60 years ago but there are some fundamental elements that will never change.

“Despite now serving 22 shops and providing our products to all of the major supermarkets, we remain committed to the same family values that Dicksons was originally built upon and it’s fair to say they run through the veins of the business.

“Our staff, all 218 of them, are genuinely part of an extended family; many have been with us for numbers of years and others are the children of long-serving and former employees.

“I think it is these family values that have set us apart from other businesses in our field which have come and gone, and are what will help us continue to thrive for the next 60 years. I strongly believe that our survival is built on the skill of our long-serving workforce and the family values that underpin everything that we do.

His sister Mrs Ramser added: “It was a real walk down memory lane helping the museum curator to piece together the exhibition.

“I was just a small girl when my parents had the shops; unlike Michael and my late sister Christine I wasn’t involved in the day-to-day running of the business, but have spent recent years studying the fascinating Dicksons’ family tree and working out how we ended up setting up shop in South Shields.

“The team at the museum have pulled together a great exhibition.”

Dicksons’ famous saveloy dip – which earlier this month piqued the interest of Princess Anne, who requested a pack to take back to Gatcombe – will take a starring role in the exhibition, with bosses at the company sharing their secrets on what makes the perfect dip and looking at the roots of this iconic South Tyneside delicacy.

Dicksons – 60 Years on The High Street, will be launched to the public on Saturday.





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