The history of our ‘champion’ pies

Even now, when people ask what I do… It feels strange to say that I make pork pies! In April 2010 I was made redundant from a marketing assistant post and looked for an alternative position, but I couldn’t find anything suitable. My husband had always savoured the taste of my cooking and suggested that I started making… ‘those fantastic pork pies’. And so it began.

Years before, my dad, and granddad before him, had made pork pies to an old family recipe. One vital piece of equipment that they employed was a pie-making machine called the ‘Little Champion’. To assist my efforts to replicate this special family recipe, the Little Champion was brought back from retirement and following a few repairs, it was put to productive use again.

Granddad Freddie had acquired the pie machine in an auction of Second World War army surplus equipment in the 1940s, and immediately put it to use in his butchers shop on Smithy Hill in Thurgoland. After thirty successful years he retired and the machine was sold.

My dad continued the pie making tradition, using the same secret family recipe, but this time making the pies by hand. Unfortunately, my dad became a victim of his own success and couldn’t keep pace with demand. So he answered an advert in the local newspaper for a ‘pie machine’. The seller told my dad that he had bought his fantastic machine from a retired butcher in Thurgoland! And so after many years, Granddad Freddie’s machine came back into the family.

After 15 years service the machine was again put into retirement, only for it to re-emerge and begin to assist me in my own pie making venture!

I do hope you enjoy our delicious handmade pork pies, using granddad Freddie’s secret family recipe; which has been appreciated by locals for over 60 years…

Jaqueline Marsden