A FAMILY pie and pork butchers shop has been serving the people of St Helens since way back in 1840 - although its owner admitted there has been a "big drop off" in recent times.

Originally launched as a butchers shop by Joseph Burchall and merged as a bakery with his wife Elizabeth, Burchall's first opened along Church Street in St Helens town centre 183 years ago.

Making the short switch to Westfield Street in 1921, Burchall's is frequently mentioned as one of the most loved businesses in St Helens and has become famous for its juicy pork pies and quality meats.

READ > Passionate butcher battling with supermarkets to offer top-quality products

St Helens Star: Burchall's famous pork pies have kept customers returning for decadesBurchall's famous pork pies have kept customers returning for decades (Image: St Helens Star)
After five generations in the town, the business is still held in high regard by Sintelliners and was voted as Star readers' 'Pie of the Year' last year.

However, owner John Burchall says that business has been tough in recent years and things are "completely different" from a few decades ago. 

John, who is the great, great, grandson of original owners Joseph and Elizabeth, said: "The main problem we have is footfall in the town centre. We have felt the impact of Wilko closing and there has definitely been a big drop off over the years.

"Things are completely different compared to the 80s when there was a real variety of shops and businesses down Westfield Street."

READ > The beloved bakery that is 'always busy and getting busier' after 80 years

St Helens Star: Andrew Jones made a model of his favourite pie shop in lockdownAndrew Jones made a model of his favourite pie shop in lockdown (Image: Contributed)
After the difficulties of the cost of living crisis, pandemic, and declining footfall figures, John admitted that it has been a "triple whammy" for town centre businesses trying to adapt and stay afloat in recent years.

Burchall's has had to shorten its opening hours to adapt to these changing times, but through its tried and tested recipes, it has kept hungry customers returning for well over a century.

Whether this has been selling to local pubs and wholesalers, or to those who continue to pop through their Westfield Street doors, around 500 of Burchall's fresh pork pies are still sold every day.

St Helens Star: John has been at the helm of the pie shop since 1995John has been at the helm of the pie shop since 1995 (Image: St Helens Star)
John, 74, who took over the business from his dad in 1995, added: "People have been coming in here for decades, and they bring their families and kids who have grown up, while others come back at Christmas if they have moved away.

"So people always remember to come back and I often get recognised and stopped on the street, so it is really nice to see."