Shops & Businesses

Here we take a stroll down Main Street and a walk into the past

George Russell, butcher, 47 Main Street, Kirby Muxloe

George was born on 26th April 1885, the youngest of eight children born to John Russell and Eliza Wallis, and was baptized at St Bartholomew’s Church on 9th November 1885.

The 1901 census shows that he was, at this time, aged 15, an apprentice butcher and living with his parents and siblings at “Oakdene”, Castle Road. He is thought to have been apprenticed to William Hudson, who had a butcher’s shop on Main Street. By 1911, he had his own shop and was an employer, but still living with his parents at Castle Road.

In 1915, George joined the army reserve in Leicester. His records show that he was age 30 years and 8 months, 5 foot 6 and a half inches tall, single and a master butcher. He was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps as a private in December 1916, but never saw active service. He was discharged in 1918, having served only 354 days, as he was “no longer physically fit for war service.”

George married Edith Timms at St Bartholomew’s Church on 20th November 1916, witnessed by his sister Annie and his brother-in-law Arthur Edward Brown. A son, John Roland, was born the following year, but sadly only lived for 16 days. The couple later adopted a daughter, Peggy.

The butcher’s shop was on the left side of the building which is now Castle Opticians, with George “Tin Tack” Barkby, shoe repairer, occupying the right side. The shop was very popular; he knew his customers well and they would come from miles away, as George only sold the best quality meat. The shop was rented from his sister Fanny, wife of Walter Bosworth, for 7/6 a week, and his niece & nephew, Marjorie (Madge) and Bert Bosworth, both worked for him for many years. Meat would be delivered, and half sides of animals would be slung over the shoulder of the delivery drivers and deposited in the walk-in cold store/fridge at the back of the shop. There were no covers on the meat, and the driver’s clothes (and sometimes George’s apron) didn’t look very clean, but his meat always tasted good! He retired at the age of 83.

In 1930, the year that Kirby was created a parish, George was appointed a sidesman at the Church, which is a Churchwarden's assistant, who performs such duties as showing worshippers to their seats and taking the collection during a church service. Two years later, he became a full Churchwarden. In 1975, he was created a Churchwarden Emeritus (lifetime Churchwarden) in celebration of his 90th birthday and to thank him for all that he had done for the parish over so many years. He is known to have attended every service at the Church, only missing one Sunday when Edith passed away in February 1953. He was often heard singing hymns, both in the shop and on the walk between his home on the corner of Main Street and Castle Road, and the Church.

After living in the village for nearly all of his life, he moved into a nursing home in Leicester when he became ill, and died on 11th April 1976 aged 91 years.

Free Church 1938