The teenager came to England from Germany to work for his uncle in Carlisle, where he ran a well-established pork butcher’s business.
In 1889, George decided to open his own pork butcher’s shop in Burnley accompanied by his wife, Karoline Rummler, another German immigrant who he married in Carlisle, and their first-born son, George Christian Alexander Haffner (the grandfather of John Haffner, the present managing director in the firm).
Burnley was chosen as the location for the business due to the anticipated boom in cotton weaving, which is exactly what happened.
Their first shop was at 33 Yorkshire Street and then on to larger premises at 16 Yorkshire Street, where the other children were born (11 in total).
Four sons went to Burnley Grammar School, and three of them (George, Billy and Harry) entered the family business. Three daughters went to the High School.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the three brothers were in the Army.
Billy and Harry were in the Middlesex Regiment, and George in the East Lancashire Regiment where he served in the Dardanelles and on the Somme, being awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre and Military Medal in 1918 for bravery in the field.
George’s tunic and cane were presented to The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment Museum in Preston, Lancashire by his son Raymond in 2007 and they are on display in the World War 1 Somme Room.
George Wilkinson Haffner joined the firm in 1935, and after serving in the Army from 1939 to 1945 continued as a director and partner all his working life.
He was joined by his brother Raymond in 1944 who, after serving in the Royal Marines, continued as a partner. As the three second generation brothers retired, George and Raymond
became the two directors.
It was during this period that the additional retail shop situated in the old Burnley Market Hall was acquired, and the bakery was established.
In June 1960, due to the building of the Keirby Hotel and the widening of Yorkshire Street, the original business moved to 4 Church Street.
Ten years later, it was on the move again; this time just a few yards to its present location in Keirby Walk.
On completion of the new Market Hall, that business was transferred into the new building and the bakery was then relocated to Clarence Street.
As the regeneration of the the Burnley Wood area began to to take hold, the bakery moved again in November 2004 to Marlborough Street.
Raymond Haffner retired in 1997, leaving son John to run the family business.
Haffner’s bakery is up for sale with Pendle Hill Properties for £89,950, plus VAT if applicable.
The current family members want to pass custodianship of the brand to new owners, so they can carry on the business and look after the seven loyal staff.
The butcher's shop in Keirby Walk is available for purchase by separate negotiation.
Anybody wishing to continue the tradition of Haffner's can enquire further by calling 01282 772048.
More details can be found on www.pendlehillproperties.co.uk.