Stedman, Ronald (1 of 32). Food: From Source to Salespoint

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  • Subjects

    Meat industry

  • Recording date

    1999-09-08, 1999-09-30, 1999-10-28, 1999-11-17, 2000-04-20

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home and Butchers' Hall, London

  • Interviewees

    Stedman, Ronald, 1917-2009 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Tape 1 Side A. Bill Knapman known on Smithfield market as ‘plates of meat’. First met BK c 1958 when asked to manage BK’s business; did not work out but they became friends. BK a ‘real cockney’. RS born in London 29.11.17. Elementary school in Brixton, left aged 14. Was found a job in David Greig’s cooked meat factory. Anecdote about first day at work, the ordeal he had to go through and his response. John Knight, firm which used to go to all the factories and shops collecting bones and fat, taken to huge London factory where melted down for soap etc. RS’s attitude to pig transplants into human beings.RS probably agnostic now, brought up as Baptist – details. Band of Hope. Parents had alcohol at Christmas or on holiday, otherwise couldn’t afford that kind of drink. Paternal grandfather born into poor family, his father died while grandpa a child and his mother took in washing. Grandfather left school aged 12 (born 1860 in Lewisham). Worked in butcher’s shop, slept in wooden box under counter in shop. Got up at four in the morning, awakened the butcher, helped get horse and cart ready to go to Smithfield. Later became chef in large London hotels; eventually went to France. Tried to find out more about paternal grandmother, Irish, born 1860 who suffered because of Irish potato famine, was not taught to read or write. Emigrated to Liverpool, arriving without shoes or stockings, came to London, where married grandfather when both were aged 18. Grandparents lived in Lewisham. They had eight children, four of whom died at birth, she had three businesses and died at 33 in 1893 leaving grandfather £3,500. RS and son went to Ireland in 1998 but failed to find out more about grandmother, who came from County Cork, - details. Story of fortune-teller whom RS met while helping at Dorchester Hotel at an annual charity debutante ball. Attitude to death. Grandmother never far from his thoughts. Believes having ‘get up and go’ rather than brain has made him a success, other members of his family including his father and his sons lack the ‘go’ quality, grandmother (Sarah) only family member who had it. Irritation with family members who lack ‘go’ quality.

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