A Family of Butcher’s The Butcher’s of Consett

Esther used her inheritance following the death of her mother to purchase a butcher’s shop for her husband Fred. It was on Newmarket Street, Consett.

Fred unfortunately was regularly drunk, and was unpredictable in his behaviour. One day enough was enough and Leslie and Bill ‘put their father out’. He was put into the Workhouse (later rescued by his sister).

Leslie was at the beginning of an apprenticeship with Consett Ironworks to become an electrician. When his father was thrown out, Esther made him give up the apprenticeship and forced him to run the butcher’s shop on Newmarket Street. He did well and became a master butcher – but it was not what he had wanted to do with his life.

The first butcher’s shop. It was on Newmarket Street, Consett. Bought by Esther for her husband Frederick.

She also bought a shop for her son Frederick William Caswell (Bill) on Watling Street, Leadgate.

Butcher’s shop on Watling Street, Leadgate. Bought by Esther for her son Frederick William (Bill) to run. In the picture he is stood with his sister May.


My mum recalls that when she went into her father Leslie’s shop on Newmarket Street, the window was on the left. But going into Uncle Bill’s the window was on the right! She also remembers how beautifully the meat was presented in the unrefridgerated window. Her father would carve the meat into pretty designs like flowers

Frederick William Caswell

This photograph from the chest is of Esther’s eldest son. He was named Frederick William Caswell (b. 04.11.1903, Pleasant View, Lanchester, Durham). He was called William (or Bill) day to day. I guess that it would have been confusing to have two Fredericks in the household (Esther’s husband was Frederick Caswell).



Margaret Charlton (nee Hedley) d1907

One of the most numerous document types in the chest are Funeral Cards. Sometimes there are more than one copy of the same card, I can only assume that they were made by a member of the family and they had a few spares.

This first one is for Esther’s mother – Margaret Charlton (nee Hedley). Her Funeral card reads as follows.

Front: In Loving Memory

Inside left:

Her toils are o’er, her work is done,
And she is fully blest,
She fought the fight, the victory won,
And entered into rest.

Robert Jackson Printer, Consett

Inside right:


Widow of the late William Charlton, of Station Hotel, Ebchester,

Who died Sept. 30th, 1907,


Interment at Christ Church, Hamsterley,
Oct. 4th at 4 p.m.

Leslie Caswell (My grandfather and Esther’s third son)

This is a photograph of Leslie Caswell (b.1906), the third child of Esther Elizabeth Charlton and Frederick Caswell. He looks a little like ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ doesn’t he?

In his butcher's garb

In his butcher’s garb

Family stories say that when he left school he got an apprenticeship to be an electrician at the Consett Iron Works.  However, his father Fred Caswell was regularly drunk. It became impossible to bring friends over, because they never knew how Fred would behave. One day Fred came home rather the worse for drink and Esther locked him out.  Bill and his brother Leslie helped ensure that Fred was put out of the house for good. He ended up at Lanchester Workhouse. This change in events meant that Fred was no longer running the butchers shop and reluctantly Leslie gave up his apprenticeship and took over the shop. That said he was a very good butcher and had the qualification of master butcher.


leslie caswell adult

He sadly died in 1973 in Consett, County Durham.