AS a nation of shopkeepers, family-run businesses have long been a staple of the British high street.

One of the difficulties of running one is the idea of who will take the reins and succeed after every generation.

However, a business which can last 90 years under the same family name is a great achievement and a testament to the family business model.

Ansell and Sons in High Street, Maldon, has celebrated its 90th anniversary of trading.

To give an idea of how much work has gone into the business, we will look at its history from the 1920s until the present day.

The Raymond family has been part of the business for 85 years and the premises has been in continuous use as a butchers since 1796.

In 1928, Leonard M Ansell and son Albert took over the butchers business. They ended up buying the property in March 1949.

In the early 1930s, a young orphan boy named Sidney Raymond had started working for the Ansell family as a butcher’s boy at age 13.

When Sid left school, he worked there full time, marrying wife Joan, who was also employed there, in 1942.

Leonard died in in 1951 and Albert in 1980.

Sid and Joan had a son, Derek, who is the current owner.

Derek started working with Sid part-time when he was in his early teens and then full-time from 1963.

The father and son finally bought the shop and business from Albert Ansell when he retried, but carried trading under the name of Ansell & Sons in his memory.

Sid died and left the business in Derek’s hands.

He has now been working at the butchers for 55 years.

Derek married Lynne and had two sons, Paul and James.

Paul started working part-time at Ansells in his early teens and full-time in 1993 while James has been part-time at the shop for 15 years.

The Standard spoke to Lynne Raymond, part-time historian and spouse of butcher Derek.

She took on the mammoth task of researching the butchers’ history for the past 20 years as a hobby.

Mrs Raymond said: “As a family we are extremely proud to have been trading in Maldon for so many years.

“It is just a fascinating story to follow.

“I was amazed at the vast amount of documents available for research held at record offices in this country enabling me to do my research.

“Research has now become my hobby and I’ve discovered that the Raymond family has lived and worked in Maldon for more than 220 years, including connections to such a long established butchers business.

“We now have so many details about the family including the discovery that our Raymond ancestors are buried in a Grade II listed tomb in All Saints’ churchyard.

“On the evening of the Vintage Christmas Fair last month, we produced an anniversary leaflet and gave out samples of our specially made sausage called ‘The Leonard’ to celebrate the 90th year since Leonard Ansell’s first Christmas in 1928.

“It’s fascinating. If you look closely at the photo of the first Christmas, you can see that Leonard had decorated the pig’s hindquarters with holly leaves as a sort of festive highlight.

“You couldn’t do something like that now because of health and safety, but it’s a nice touch.”

Mrs Raymond spoke about the traditions that the business tries to keep alive from decades past.

“The delivery service was started in the 1920s and we continue to offer a free delivery service to customers in Maldon and many surrounding villages,” she said.

“Home products such as sausages and brawn are still prepared on site.

“We also brine meat such as ox tongues and salt beef.

“Meat is sourced locally where possible, traditionally hung and cut to customers’ exact requirements.

“It is great to move with the times and we look forward towards our 100th anniversary by continuing to offer fantastic quality meat and service, but also to add other services such as cooking advice and recipe leaflets.

“We also run butchery classes for those wanting to get hands-on and learn more about the provenance and cutting of meat.”