History

From the beginning.....

We’ve traced our ancestors back to the 1800’s when they were farming the land and producing livestock on the rich local pastures of Airedale. In the midst of the agricultural and industrial revolutions Thomas Penny made his trade as a wool merchant and sold his goods in the Cock and Bottle in Leeds, a place of a bygone time. The newly built Leeds to Liverpool canal was a means of transporting goods easily to major cities and development continued.

John Penny Family HistoryIn 1892 the Penny family territory expanded with the purchase of Low Green Farm, Rawdon, our base today.  Throughout the generations this long standing tradition of a livelihood from livestock continued, seasonal cattle fairs became weekly cattle markets and the Penny family became cattle dealers and producers, trading as “Penny Brothers”.

After the Second World War, John Penny saw a potential market for supplying meat in addition to raising stock. John Penny and Sons meat wholesale business commenced trading; a new era began and shaped the future for the young Penny boys.

Driven by ambition, by the 1960’s the business had outgrown its’ simplistic buildings and planning was granted for an extension, providing custom built meat chillers. As vehicles developed John Penny provided a delivery service to local shops by means of a rustic Land Rover and trailer.

Old picture John Penny car parkThe 1990’s saw the onset of the BSE cull – a terrible time in the history of the British food industry. This was a time of European regulations being strictly enforced to defend food safety and ended in a “comply or die” situation for the meat industry. In 1994 John Penny & Sons was a fully EU compliant meat processing facility. Sadly some smaller plants did not have the financial means to survive and our market position strengthened.

Just over a decade later disaster struck once more with the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease, a viral infection of cloven hoofed livestock resulting in a government imposed slaughter of many animals. This created an economic disaster with a cost to the country of around £8bn. Regulations tightened once again, we survived and continued to expand, now with a major focus on food safety and traceability.

Development continued over the years and we now occupy almost 5 acres of specially designed factory on the Low Green site. This incorporates a three species slaughterhouse and a dedicated meat processing and packing plant, in addition to several large chillers and we are still expanding. This coming year will see further development of the farm and factory.

With a superior product and a deservedly well respected name in the meat industry we have now expanded our delivery service into areas further afield. We run a fleet of temperature controlled vehicles and employ in excess of 70 staff and are one of the local economies largest employers.

200 years on we've stood the test of time, we have an instinct for quality meat and a passion for what we do best, producing and supplying a premium product.

We’ve watched our company grow from a one truck operation to a business that services more than 500 customers.We have an unwavering commitment to product quality and, we still provide a personal service.

.....Don’t just produce meat, produce John Penny meat

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