The original Saunderson shop front at 40 Leven StreetThe Shop That Jack Bought

It was in 1958 that W G Adams put his butcher’s shop in Leven Street Edinburgh up for sale. His shop manager, John (Jack) Saunderson seized the opportunity and founded the Saunderson butcher dynasty which has faithfully served the Edinburgh community for just on 50 years from the same premises that Jack bought.

Firstly, the genealogy – Jack’s sons, Kenneth and John (known as Ian) both worked in the business until Kenneth’s early death at the age of 32. Ian continued on alone until joined by his son, John – the current owner. The fourth generation has just started in the business with John’s son, Callum, helping out on Saturdays.

An example of the Rennie Mackintosh style wall tilesSuccessfully overcoming the difficulties facing the whole of the butchers’ trade in the 1990s Saunderson’s have entered the new century with extended premises, new equipment and a booming business. In 2005 John bought the video shop next door - extending the floor space and creating a state of the art manufacturing space in the generous-sized basement. During the original refurbishment of the shop 14 years previously the architect was inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and built tile covered pillars in Mackintosh’s style to underline Saunderson’s traditional Scottish produce. The specially commissioned tiles were hand crafted at the time in North Berwick, Sadly the original artist had passed away at the time of the 2005 refurbishment but John was able to commission a Morningside company to make replicas of the original tiles so that the Mackintosh décor could be continued through to the new parts of the shop. The shop closed for two weeks but the special Saunderson customer service ensured that regular customers were provided with freezer packs to see them through the closure.The original office still in use as a staff rest room

Today, the shop provides the best of tradition values with the most modern standards of health and hygiene. Original features have been retained wherever possible – the hanging rails and hoist in the front shop no longer function but provide a link with the history of the shop and the area; the cast-iron spiral staircase leads up to the traditional wooden office – now a staff rest room – and the imagination does not have to work hard to see the old clerk opening the window and taking details of customers’ purchases to enter in the big ledgers.

A visit to Saunderson’s feeds the soul along with the body.