HG Blake was founded by the late Hilton Blake in 1938
The business grew from the family farm, where Hilton was put in place by his father, a butcher, to learn the business of farming. In addition to his own animals, Hilton and livestock agent, Mayhew Clarke, sourced stock from markets around the County.
Hilton became chairman in 1954
Hilton married his wife and current Chairwoman, Jane, in 1962. After their marriage Jane took up administration and banking duties. HG Blake was incorporated on the 27th May 1963, under the name H.G.Blake(Costessey)Limited. By 1987 the business was managed on a day-to-day basis by Tony Barlow.
Around this time, the pork industry was growing within East Anglia. To capitalise on this growth in demand, Hilton expanded the business to two sites by renting a further abattoir at Swardesdon from the Coop to facilitate the processing of cattle and sheep, freeing up the Costessey site to process pigs. The Swardesdon facility was run by current HG Blake Managing Director, Andrew Clarke, until 1995.
It was around this time that regulation changes required that both abattoirs be substantially modernised. It was decided that modernising the two current sites wasn’t viable and instead they would build a purpose built facility. Whilst planning to build the new modern abattoir, Hilton, who had been ill for some time, sadly passed away.
Beginning of a new era
After Hilton’s passing in 1994, his widow and Company Secretary and Director, Jane Blake, was left to make the difficult decision as to whether to carry on running the business or sell it as a going concern.
Hilton had expressed that should anything happen to him, his wife should sell up, but the way she looked at it was that they had always employed uncles, sons, cousins, and relatives. A family business in it’s truest sense. And mindful of the fact, people say they will keep people on once the sale of a business has gone through, but more often than not, don’t. Jane decided that wasn’t an option, so taking the bull by it’s horns, asked Andrew Clarke step up from Beef and Lamb Sales Manager to help turn the building plans into a reality and run the new facility on her behalf to carry on Hilton’s legacy.