AMONG the Bridport characters to reveal memories of their past as part of Bridport Museum's Spinning Yarns oral history project has been butcher Douglas Leonard Rawles.

Mr Rawles was born on July 13, 1921, in St Andrew's Road, has seen many changes to both the town and his trade over the years.

His grandfather bought a butchers shop in East Street in 1918 and the business is still trading today.

Mr Rawles said: "I have been a butcher for 72 years - I learnt how to slaughter and dress animals for the shop from an early age, before the introduction of the humane killer.

"For 20 years I worked for two well-known company butchers, which also gave me added experience.

"I must say I enjoyed my job right through - from making the best pork sausages and burgers, to cutting and preparing joints of top quality beef, lamb and port for sale in the shop.

"In those days you would not be classed as a master butcher unless you could slaughter and prepare animals for the shop - cut up the carcase into joints for sale over the counter to customers, able to make sausages etc, as well as keeping the premises clean and tidy!"

In his interviews for Spinning Yarns Mr Rawles reveals how he got into the family business by helping out after school and at weekends, and spending time at the family's slaughterhouse at North Mills.

He also describes going out with his father and sitting on the petrol tank in their Ford to deliver meat to the villages - his father being the only butcher in town with a vehicle.

Later as a teenager Mr Rawles would cycle to Askerswell and Loders on Fridays to deliver meat to householders.

He joined the family business full-time on leaving school and talks of having to scrub clean all the meat hooks, in the days before stainless steel.

In those days the shopfront was open to the elements, whatever the weather with the shutters only in place overnight.

The shop would also reopen on a Saturday night from 9pm-10pm to sell off any bits of meat left over. In the days before refrigeration anything left unsold was hung up in the coolest part of the shop with muslin over and any flyblown meat sliced off on a Monday morning before the rest could be sold.

Mr Rawles' was one of over 120 people interviewed as part of the project. His memories will be archived by Bridport Museum for future generations.