MR THOMAS'S CHOP HOUSE EST. 1867
Back in the 1860s Manchester was booming. After kickstarting the industrial revolution it was a hub for industry, social revolution, forward thinkers and a desperate race for upwards social mobility.
People flocked to the city from all over the world searching for new opportunity and wealth.
A young chef from London, Thomas Studd, was one of these migrants. He began his life in Manchester working in kitchens of other Chop Houses, which were everywhere in Victorian England.
Chop Houses were places for the leaders of industry and society to meet and do deals over flagons of beer, snifters of brandy, steaks, chops and sandwiches.
Back in those days, women were strictly forbidden. Other than waitresses, of course.
And working in Brown's Chop House on Market Street, Tom met Sarah, one of the waitresses. They were both ambitious. And soon they married and opened their own Chop House on Cross Street, opposite the original Town Hall and the Cross Street Chapel.
Cross Street was the main artery of Victorian Manchester and soon Mr Thomas's Chop House became one of the most popular establishments in town.
Just seven years after opening, though, Tom fell ill and became unable to work. So Sarah took the helm, running the Chop House and taking care of eight children.
Sarah was one hell of a lady. She established a ladies room at the Chop House, in 1871. This was extremely progressive and no doubt ruffled a few old fella's feathers. Remember this was three decades before Emmeline Pankhurst fought for emancipation.
By 1880 Thomas sadly died and the businesses license officially passed to Sarah, who saw Tom's grow to serve up to 400 meals per day. If you have seen the building you will realise what a feat this was.
To honour Sarah and her daughter, also Sarah, we renamed Mr Thomas's Chop House to Sarah's Chop House to mark International Women's Day 2019. You'll still see this on our signs to this day.
Almost 160 years later, Tom's is still a family owned business. We aren't the Studds anymore, sadly they died out in the 1920s, but we are still just as proud of our family values and independent status.