John Gilmour Butchers: Our History and Provenance

The origins of John Gilmour Butchers began just after the Second World War when William Gilmour, in 1946, returned from flying with the RAF during wartime service. He was joined by his brother John in the High Street butchers shop in Prestonpans that had been owned by Bob Greig.

Bob was a complete master butcher, who had a small abattoir down the lane from the old shop which had been a butchers shop for over 100 years prior. A different method for a different time.

We have come a long way as a business since then and now operate from our ECC approved factory based in East Lothian, just a few miles from our original shop in Prestonpans. Often referred to as the “garden of Scotland” due to the rich arable farming land that makes up the county, it also has some of the best cattle producing farms in the world, that we often buy from.

We are now a third-generation family business, using the skills and experience built up over almost 70 years of trading. We still have the passion to supply our customers with amazing British meat. 


At Gilmour Butchers, we support Scottish farmers. We see them as our partners in our mission to supply the public with the best sustainably farmed produce our great country has to offer. We have been working with some of our farm partners for over 40 years and over three generations of our family, we have built a supply chain of outstanding quality.

We often buy direct from farmers and like his father before him, John Gilmour visited his local St Boswells Livestock Mart every Monday to choose the very best himself for over 45 years. This is a tradition that his son Simon now continues. We take immense pride in supporting local farming communities and the surrounding rural economy.


Our beef is selected from small-batch, sustainable farms who grass feed the animals throughout the summer and use silage (a type of natural grass fodder) in winter. This natural process means our products are as environmentally friendly as possible and the animals are kept on their natural diet, improving the welfare and the end product. 

This process creates a ‘carbon sink’, absorbing more carbon than the process releases, allowing us to enjoy these products and create a truly world class industry.

By grass feeding the animal, we add marbling slowly and carefully which enhances the flavour. Some butchers will use grain fed cattle; this often leads to an unbalanced steak with too much fat on one side and not enough on the other.  Grass fed beef is the natural and best way to rear cattle.


We know how to take the world class product that our farmers produce and age it, package it and deliver it in a way that enhances the product and does not detract. Our meat is always delivered fresh, giving you the option to use it now or to freeze it for later. That is the way it should be.

All our beef and lamb cuts are dry aged in our specialist state-of-the-art ageing chambers. This slowly reduces unwanted moisture content in the meat, focusing and enhancing the mouth-watering flavours. This also allows the meat to tenderise, making it even more delicious. By doing this, we pay homage to the farmers who have given us this wonderful product. The worst thing we could do is to rush this final crucial stage, and this is where most of our competitors get it so wrong. By freezing their products, the ageing process is halted, meaning that their products have not had time to develop. Like a fine whisky, wine or cheese, our products are given the time to become the best they can be, and the only rush will be to get it onto the grill or the BBQ.

If you're looking for the best beef in the UK, super-fast delivery and want to support local rural communities, we are the butcher for you.