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Althams Catering Butchers

message posted 05-Jan-07 17:55:37

Established in 1856 by a local farmer, Thomas Altham, who opened a butcher’s shop in Poulton-le-Sands now known as Morecambe. A second shop was later acquired in
Heysham. He had two sons.

Thomas’s second son, John Carr went into the business but then died at a relatively
early age leaving his widow Mrs. J.C.Altham who took over the business and opened
two more shops in Morecambe and Heysham with her sons Thomas and Robert.

As a natural development of the existing business a chandlery outlet was set up
in a warehouse on St. George’s Quay. Lancaster which provide victualling to the
increasing number of vessels sailing in and out of Heysham harbour.

During the 1950’s the abattoir in Morecambe was sold to FMC.

1965 saw a move of the chandlery to larger premises in Morecambe to accommodate
the ship stores.

Early 1974 due to the butchery business expanding a large extension was built at
the chandlery premises.

In 1974 the running of the farming and butchery business was taken over by
Thomas and Val Altham. Thomas being the great grandson of the founder and
Val his wife. The directors seeing a decline in the retail market decided to expand
into the catering sector moving further afield to service hotels/restaurants in the
Lake District and surrounding areas.

In 1984 the development of the catering business was so successful that the Company
moved the butchery business to larger premises, which consisted of a factory and
office, on the White Lund Industrial Estate, Morecambe where it has remained since.

At the same time the chandlery business became a separate entity.

In 1993 James Carr Altham was appointed a Director and was joined on the Board by
his brother, Richard Charles Altham, in January 1996.

In 1993/94 the factory underwent major refurbishment to comply with
EC regulations and directives to meet the demands of our ever increasing and
discerning customers.

In the year 2000 the Company grew extensively embracing a delivery area from
the North West to the Midlands. This growth continued. In 2003/4 the Company
purchased additional land and a substantial extension was constructed. The factory
can still justifiably be considered ‘state of the art.’

The Company is now run by Mrs. Val Altham and her two sons James and Richard,
thus maintaining the Altham tradition.


“With all the problems faced by the meat and farming industry over the last few years
and more recently the outbreaks worldwide food safety is paramount. For those
reasons we pride ourselves on our achievements, including the very high standard
and accreditations which are rigorously enforced, and the commitment of our

James Altham (M.D.)

In October 1994 we were granted an EC Licence by MAFF – Licence no 4578.

During 1993/1994 the Directors, Management and Staff achieved the quality
assurance standard of BS 5750 now known as ISO 9001:2000 – certificate no 1379.

Audited by CMi annually to BRC Global Standard Food (Issue 4). required in order
to supply major breweries and supermarkets.

“Mey Selections” Beef – produced under Licence no 102 - part of His Royal
Highness The Prince Charles Duke of Rothesay’s North Highland Initiative

Authentic CAAB – Authentic Certified Aberdeen Angus Beef.

All members of our factory staff have basic Food Hygiene Certificates. Managers
have Intermediate and Advanced Hygiene Certificates.

New employees are registered on NVQ schemes in meat and poultry and
are coached by an in-house trainer.

Microbiological tests are carried out by an independent UKAS accredited auditing organisation.

Annually audited by NQA (National Quality Assurance) to ensure compliance
with ISO 9001:2000 applicable to the preparation and distribution of meat

Annually audited by MHS (Meat Hygiene Services) on behalf of FSA (Food
Standards Agency)

Althams Catering Butchers

Head Office: +44 (0)1524 33433

message posted 30-Jun-07 14:00:27
Around 40 chefs from pubs and restaurants across North West England paid a visit to Althams Catering Butchers recently, to find out more about Althams Quality Assured (AQA) beef and lamb.

Following a warm welcome from chief executive Val Altham, guests were taken on a tour of the factory by her sons James and Richard, board directors of the Company.

The chefs were shown around the whole factory, with special attention paid to an area dedicated to dry-ageing AQA beef and lamb.

Malcolm Thornton, a highly skilled butcher who has been with Althams for 18 years, outlined what gives the product its distinctive flavour, as he seam-butchered an entire beef carcase to illustrate the full range of cuts available.

The chefs were then taken to meet farmer Brendon Atkinson and his son Brian at Scratchmere Scar farm in Plumpton, Penrith, where some of the AQA beef starts its life. Brian explained how the Stabilizer breed of cattle is what makes the end product so good.

He said: “The Stabilizer is a mixture of Red Angus, Geld, Simmental and Hereford. It has good marbling which gives it a better flavour. It also has a laid-back temperament so the animal is less inclined to feel stressed, producing a better quality meat post-slaughter. The animals are also free to roam and enjoy a lush, natural diet, which adds to the quality of the end product.”

Speaking to the chefs, Richard Altham explained: “We spent 12 months developing the AQA concept and worked hard to identify farmers that we knew we could depend on to meet our exacting requirements. With AQA, we’ve developed a brand that is not only excellent quality, but it is consistently so - and it’s that that will keep your customers coming back time and time again.”

James Altham added: “We pay the farmers more to ensure that the product is finished in the right way - and that’s important because they need to be able to make a living just as much as the next man.

“Without their skill and hard work we would be nowhere! And because AQA is a premium product, it should command a premium price in a pub or restaurant. Once customers know the story behind their beef or lamb, they will be inclined to pay extra because they know they are eating fully traceable meat.”

To aid this marketing, Althams has introduced a special batch coding system for AQA customers, which enables chefs to go one step further and tell their own customers not only the origin of the meat in terms of locality, but the exact farm it came from.

Chefs simply have to input the batch code from their order into a special section on the AQA website to find out which farm the animal came from and when it was killed.

AQA beef and lamb conforms to the quality specifications of the EBLEX Quality Standard scheme.

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