A well-beloved family butchers which served the Deptford community for nearly 200 years closed its doors permanently at the weekend.

WH Wellbeloved, which bears the apt family name, was established on Deptford High Street in 1829, before moving to Tanners Hills.

William Wellbeloved, known locally as Bill, took over the business aged just 18 in 1976, after his namesake father tragically died at 54 in an Eltham car crash.

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More than 40 years later, he has retired at the age of 63.

While William and his wife Val have three children, they have chosen different paths, meaning the family business has closed for good.

Mr Wellbeloved said: “It’s been my life, the business.

“I really just want to say thank you to everyone in the community.

“No business is good without customers, and I’ve had thousands of them.

“It’s been hard at times, but they’ve all stood by me.

“The job has been my life, so it’s hard for me to describe how I feel - it's unbelievable.

“I feel like I’m going out at a good time.

“I’ve got a grandkid on the way and hopefully many more.”

Mr Wellbeloved was a baby when the family moved the business from 13A-39 on Deptford High Street, where they lived above.

News Shopper: How the shop looked around the time it moved to Tanners HillHow the shop looked around the time it moved to Tanners Hill

The family resettled in Eltham, where William grew up, setting up the new shop in a Grade II listed building at the bottom of Tanners Hill, part of which dates to 1690.

His father, one of seven sons, inherited the business from Charlie Wellbeloved, who took over from founder William Wilfred Wellbeloved.

William, or Bill, worked in the shop since the age of 14, taking on full responsibility when his father died.

“I was in it by then, so it was natural for me to take over,” he said.

“I suffer through dyslexia and so it was always natural for me to work in the business.

“I had to survive.”

News Shopper: William in years gone byWilliam in years gone by

Business became easier over the years, William said, as the character of Deptford changed due to greater investment in the area.

“It was hard back in the early days, as it was still relatively poor around here.

“A lot of the area was ripped out over the 70s.

“Since the time I’ve been here there have been huge changes; all the new-builds have revitalised things.

“It’s definitely for good.”

The business became famed for its freshly baked pies and high-quality meat sourced from trusted suppliers.

William will be spending his retirement in Dartford, where he moved after getting married.

"Im not going to forget Deptford," he added.