"MY stepfather, Charles Egner, was a master pork butcher in Gosforth,” says Bill Hall who has a unique bird’s eye moving view of Darlington town centre - and of part of the Zissler empire of butchers.

“His mother and father had come over before the First World War, but were interned. Charles was born here, and he served as a stretcherbearer during the war.”

Because he was of German extraction, he wasn’t allowed on the frontline.

After the war, Charles married Bill’s mother, Ivy, and in the early 1950s, spotted that Nellie Zissler’s butchers in Northgate, Darlington, was for sale. Charles and Ivy bought it and moved into the flat above.

The Northern Echo: Pease's house in Northgate in 1964. The To Let sign is on Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop. The police seem to be giving an escort to an unusual load

Pease's house in Northgate in 1964. The To Let sign is on Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop. The police seem to be giving an escort to an unusual load

This property was the northern wing of Edward Pease’s house. It is a world-changing property as, on April 19, 1821, it was here that Pease met George Stephenson and became a convert to steampower. As Memories told a fortnight ago, Darlington council has just bought the central part of the property beside the butcher’s shop – we showed you some remarkable pictures of the dereliction of the 18th Century townhouse (many thanks for all the positive remarks about the article).

The Zissler family had acquired a portion of the Pease property in 1909, and commissioned a local architect, George Walesby Davis, to create an ornate frontage. It has plaques on it which, although they have irrelevant information and date on them, celebrate the railway history that happened in the building.

The Northern Echo: Nellie Zissler's name above the butchers

Nellie Zissler's name above the butchers from Bill's film

The Egners kept the popular Zissler name. Nellie Zissler was the daughter of George Zissler Jnr whose shop had been over the road.

When Bill finished his national service in Malaya in 1955, he came to work in the butchery business and live on the top floor of the flat, looking down onto the bustle of Northgate below. Bill liked experimenting with a Super 8 cine camera and still has the remarkable, if shaky, footage showing the bustling street beneath Zissler’s top window.

The Northern Echo: The Gaumont, or Alhambra cinema, opposite Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop

The Gaumont, or Alhambra cinema, opposite Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop, from Bill's film

This area is now the takeaway capital of Darlington, but in the mid-1950s it was packed with local shops. “There was Joe Cleminson’s cycle shop on the corner with Garden Street, there was the Well Cut tailors and Denham’s radio shop in Pease’s house, and then there was Michie’s locksmith, which is still there,” says Bill. The Half Moon pub was there as was another butcher of German origin, Park & Zeller, and then opticians Cooper & Leatherbarrow – now in Duke Street – were in their original premises on the corner with Russell Street.

The Northern Echo: The front of Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop

The front of Nellie Zissler's butcher's shop, from Bill's film

But times were changing and the days of a pork butcher on every corner were coming to an end. Nellie Zissler’s shop closed in about 1963.

READ MORE: The teenage lovers who started a Darlington butchering dynasty

“I’D forgotten about Park & Zellers until I saw Stan Summer’s letter,” says Vince Elsbury in Darlington. A couple of weeks ago Stan was asking for information about this pork butcher.

“I would have been 15 or 16, working at Alexandre’s tailor on the corner of Crown Street, my first job after school, doing errands and brushing ready-mades off the peg. I would go there for delicious pork sandwiches, hot off the spit.

“One of the Saturday salesman used to say: ‘Tell the butcher it’s for the manager, could you put some lean in?’.

“But I got the reply from one of the staff: ‘Tell the manager he’ll get what he’s given.’ Happy days.”

CHITTERLINGS, saveloys, pork dips and savoury ducks – Zisslers and Park & Zeller would have sold all the offal delicacies that have been tempting our tastebuds recently. And, we imagine, haslet.

“Haslet is still readily available from many outlets and is, in my opinion, delicious,” says Mike Robson in Stanhope. “According to The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook based on the Yorkshire Television series, it is of Lincolnshire origin and includes:

Pig’s liver; Lean and fat bits of pork; Pig’s heart; Onion; Breadcrumbs; Sage; Salt and pepper; A piece of pig’s veil (optional).”

Gill Wootten in Darlington goes further: “Coming, on my father’s side, from good Lincolnshire stock, I grew up with haslet (pronounced ‘hayslet’, not ‘hazlit’ as it is round here).

“Traditionally, Lincolnshire haslet was minced pork, breadcrumbs, sage and seasoning, bound with egg and cooked in a pig’s veil (the stomach lining of a pig) so it was sort of haggis-shaped rather than the oblong blocks we see now.”