John Gibson: Mince and this really is mint

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When Tom Willis took his shop to uppity George Street and opened his butchers emporium, chandeliers and all, the retailed trade was agog with the classic “too big for his boots” thing.

Willis wiped the cynics’ smirks off their faces. Now we have the same trade in the former original Willis location, John Henderson, owner of Andersons, a name that’s played a crucial role in Great Junction Street, the port’s main thoroughfare.

On my rounds I dropped into Andersons the Butchers for two reasons. One was nostalgic. Straight from school I’d be told to fetch my granny’s messages (she lived on the street’s No 14), Andersons invariably on the list. And, two, Andersons had just won the Best Steak Pie award from east Scotland’s Scottish Federation of Meat Traders.

John, 70, bought the business in 1995 and, with its 18-strong staff, it exudes a distinct touch of class. A credit to the port. The painter in the transformation, the tiler, the architect . . . all Leithers.

Having acquired the fruit shop through the wall, his customers wonder what now of John, who broke his leg playing rugby for Watsonians.

George Street? Not for the present but that maltreated thoroughfare could use a man of his taste and enterprise. A proper load of mince he’s got down there. The right stuff.


. . . a weather-wise Edinburgh architect is telling me it’s been so cold in Auld Reekie lawyers, even, have had their hands in their own pockets.