Thursday, 21 October 2010

Furness man steps back in time for documentary

THE British high street has changed beyond recognition in the last century, with independent shops increasingly making way for national chains.
A former Furness butcher is now teaming up with filmmakers at the BBC for a multi-million pound documentary to teach the public how life used to be.
Barrow businessman Andrew Sharp and his son, Michael, will feature in the Turn Back Time series, along with four other families, as a butcher.
The families, who include greengrocers, bakers, ironmongers and dressmakers, record shop owners and convenience store owners, then take over empty shops and run them through six key eras in British history to find out what life was like.
Mr Sharp, who recently took over The Washington pub in Roose Road, Barrow, said: “I did this because I am obsessed by my trade and how it has developed. I wanted to help show people what it was like.
“The whole of society has transformed and this documentary, which has been made by BBC History, tries to educate people.
“The high street really has changed beyond recognition.”
Mr Sharp spent two-and-a-half months shooting the programme, which is set in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. During the series, the families try to survive as traditional businesses in the modern world.
Each episode of the six-week programme is set in a different era, starting from Victorian times and running through the Edwardian era, the 1930s, the Second World War, the 1960s and 1970s.
Mr Sharp’s great, great uncle was Beatrix Potter’s shepherd Thomas Storey, who owned farmland which later became Storey Square in Barrow.
The pub landlord was trained in butchery at Asplin butchers in Grange, before opening his own stall in Barrow Market and later a meat supply business in Lindal.
He said: “My family have been butchers for generations. I began my apprenticeships in Grange when I was 13 and opened my own stall in Barrow market when I was 19. I have supplied meat to the Great British Menu programme and I won the Step up to the Plate programme with a colleague.
“But this is the first time I have done a full programme.
“It is really hard work but it is all about learning from history.”
The first episode of Turn Back Time will be broadcast on BBC One on November 2 at 9pm.

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