The J. Heath & Son Story
J. Heath & Son is Eastbourne's premier, award-winning, family butchers. Established in the mid 1940s, J.Heath & Son is a third generation, family-run business, situated in the Old Town of Eastbourne. The business was started by Nigel's Grandfather and then Nigel Heath took over from his father Clifford about 15 years ago.
We are very lucky to have great local suppliers. Our meat is sourced from local farms and Nigel is a firm believer that if livestock are well looked after under British farming standards and don't travel far, it makes all the difference to the end product. Our customers get the very best of what is available.
Being a third generation butcher means we have a wealth of experience as to how to store meat in the best possible way. We are small enough to be able to hang meat for the correct amount of time, once again ensuring our customers get the juiciest and tastiest products.
Meet The Family
James (Jim) Heath
Nigel’s Grandfather started as an apprentice butcher for Mr Wilcox of Surbiton when he was 18 in 1923. It was there that he learned the trade under the watchful eye of Mr Wilcox and eventually they joined forces to open their own shop in Handcross, West Sussex in the 1930s. Here Jim worked until the start of the second world war where he was eventually called up and enlisted in the catering corp where he worked as a cook for the army. During the war, as a cook, Jim added to his butchery skill set and was able to pass this on to his son Clifford.
After the war, the family moved to Horam and he opened his own shop, the very first J.Heath & Son, in early 1953. It was there in 1959 that Cliff, Nigel’s Dad, started helping in the shop full time at the age of 15 and they worked together before Cliff took over the running of the shop at the age of 20.
Cliff left school early to start working for his Dad, learning the trade as he went. As a young boy he did the deliveries on a traditional butchers bike all around the village. He had to take over the running of the Horam J. Heath & Son at the age of 20 in 1965.
It was not long before an opportunity came up for Cliff to purchase a run down butchers shop on Albert Parade in Eastbourne – the shop we are in today. Cliff moved his life down to Eastbourne in 1984 just before his 40th birthday. At that time there were 3 butchers’ shops on the parade but it was Cliff’s experience and attention to detail that meant he was able to weather the storm of the 1980s’ surge in supermarkets.
The foundations on which J. Heath & Son was built; local suppliers and great customer service meant they were able to carry on as today’s only surviving butcher on Albert Parade.
Nigel also joined the family business as soon as he was able. Working first from the age of 13 as a Saturday boy and then working full time from when he left school at age 15. He learned to be a butcher in the old way, from Cliff and his Grandfather before that. Very quickly he became passionate about improving J.Heath & Son and ensuring the continuation of the legacy that his Grandfather had left.
Nigel took over the running of the shop in 2004 when his Dad was ill, he was very aware that he had big boots to fill but has worked very hard to ensure that J.Heath & Son continues to offer the greatest quality meat, hung to perfection and cut with the utmost care.
He has now been working in the Eastbourne shop for just under