Tributes to Ruby Butcher who founded the popular Ruby’s Tea Stall on Norwich Market

Ruby Butcher, founder of Ruby's Tea Stall on Norwich Market, has died aged 91.

Ruby Butcher, founder of Ruby's Tea Stall on Norwich Market, has died aged 91. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to the founder of a popular tea stall on Norwich Market.

Norwich Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Ruby Butcher, who established Ruby's Tea Stall in 1953 and ran it for 35 years, died on March 30 at the age of 91.

She had taken over a struggling business, and through years of dedication and long hours she turned it around.

'She was a very hard-working woman all her life,' said her son Barry, 72. 'She sold good tea and I think she was one of the first people to do a bacon roll in the city.

'She didn't stand no nonsense.

Ruby Butcher (right), founder of Ruby's Tea Stall on Norwich Market, has died aged 91. She is pictur

Ruby Butcher (right), founder of Ruby's Tea Stall on Norwich Market, has died aged 91. She is pictured with her daughter Patricia. - Credit: Archant


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'She wouldn't have any swearing at the stall or anything like that.

'Some of the market traders even used to take their kids to her when they wouldn't behave.

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'Even though she would tell them off they would remain friends through their lives.'

Mrs Butcher was born on October 9, 1923 at Hall Road in Hellesdon.

Her father died when she was just four years old, knocked down by a drink driver, and she left school aged 14 to work in service at a large house in Mount Pleasant in Norwich.

She met her husband Ronald, a sailor, before the Second World War and they tied the knot in 1941.

They had two children, Barry and Patricia.

Patricia died in 2011.

Mr and Mrs Butcher worked several jobs to support their family - with Mr Butcher at the Mackintosh cracker factory in Norwich, and both helping out on market stalls. They divorced in 1953 but remained friends.

That same year the opportunity arose for Mrs Butcher to take on a tea stall, while her ex husband took on a nearby fish stall.

Her son Barry recalled her working long hours, often opening until 8pm on a Saturday to serve people leaving the former Hippodrome theatre, so that she sold out of that day's stock.

There were around 200 market stalls at the time.

'They all bought tea all day long and everybody knew everybody,' said Barry, who runs a fish stall at Norwich Market. 'It was very much a community.'

Mrs Butcher retired in 1988 and her daughter Patricia took over the stall for a few years.

While it is no longer in the family, it is still open and called Ruby's Tea Stall.

Mrs Butcher's main interests in retirement were playing darts, card games including crib and watching snooker.

Mrs Butcher is survived by her son Barry, four grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter.

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