William and Rae Beeston opened the eponymous William’s Kitchen back in 1975 at 3 Fountain Street, Nailsworth, where Frank Carpenter had had a shop since 1951. As well as fresh fish, sold from a marble slab in the shop window, Frank sold rabbits, fowls and pheasants, which were often seen hanging upside-down outside.
William’s Kitchen went from strength to strength, as a fishmonger, delicatessen and also a successful outside catering business. He became known as the man who ‘put Nailsworth on the map’ as his business helped transform this small Gloucestershire market town from a quiet backwater to the celebrated foodie haven it has become today.
Not only did his client list resemble a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Gloucestershire, he was also nominated one of Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes’ and named one of Matthew Fort’s Five Favourite Places to Shop. Even Jack Straw, on visiting the Stroud Valleys in the 1990s, requested a visit: “I’ve been told I must stop by William’s Kitchen” he announced, upon arriving at Stroud station.
After 39 successful years in the business, William retired in 2014 and sold ‘William’s Food Hall & Oyster Bar’ to local family, Ed and Helen Playne. Long may the William’s story continue …