The name Alden has been prominent in the Oxford business world for more than two centuries.

The family firm has been supplying households and other clients with meat and other delicacies since 1793.

Today, it continues to thrive at its depot in Osney Mead, with the Palace of Westminster and Oxford and Cambridge universities among its notable customers.

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Matthew Alden, the seventh generation of the family to run the business, tells me: “So much has changed in the last 230 years. There have been 10 monarchs, 44 prime ministers, two world wars and eight pandemics.

“However, Alden’s remains focused on product provenance, consistency, flavour, animal welfare and sustainability, allowing us to continue to look forward to the future while respecting the past.”

Isaac Alden started the business while living above a butcher’s shop with his wife and young son Thomas in Bear Lane, off High Street, Oxford.

He was offered the tenancy of the shop and in 1793, Alden’s butchers was established.

Shortly afterwards, Oxford University was looking for a tenant to run Eastwyke Farm, off Abingdon Road, and Isaac signed a 200-year lease. The head office was based there until 1988.

Isaac’s son Thomas followed his father into the business and opened the R R Alden butcher’s shop in Oxford’s Covered Market.

Third generation Robert opened more shops in the Covered Market and was followed by Leonard, who became well known not only in the butchery trade but as a councillor and Mayor of Oxford.

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He was president of the Master Butchers’ Association and acted as a cattle judge at various markets, including Smithfield in London.

Fifth generation Rodney and his wife Dorothy had four sons, Rodney, Peter, David and Richard, who were all involved in the business. Richard was in charge for 37 years until his son Matthew took the reins in 2003.

Picture captions:

1 Leonard Alden judging; 2 Covered Market shop in 1950; 3 Oxford Covered Market shop in 1947; 4 Leonard Alden opening Donnington Bridge in Oxford; 5 Robert Alden addresses former Prime Minister Lloyd George and other dignitaries in 1946; 6 Staff in 1962.