Stedman, Ronald (19 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 19: Tape 10 Side A: Meat now cut in slaughterhouses rather than in shops; Continental way of cutting meat more economic because waste meat kept fresh and used for other things eg saveloys. Details of Davis and other cutter at Atlantic Road in 1933 when D approx 34, low pay and status. If D had been more of a ‘ladies’ man’ could have become a manager of the shop, but lack of personality prevented this. Order of hierarchy. Atmosphere of shop, lots of banter. Salt beef. Brine tub. Sausages were made by the ‘boy’, apprentice, who had to be over 16 to handle machine and knives. Rails in shop at beginning of week were hung with whole lambs minus heads, cut up during week. Game was hung for weeks until it was moving ie lice. RS’s first job in one of the shops after Electric Avenue was to scrub out dustbins crawling with maggots, fat etc. Earthenware sink at Electric Avenue. Hot water from copper. Meat was delivered from Smithfield most days. RS worked from 7 am and got home approx 6.30. Half-day on Monday and on early closing day, Wednesday. Worked until 9 o’clock on Friday and Saturday. Saturday afternoon was for cleaning up. Training as a cutter lasted approx a year. Coffee break and lunch break. Danger of over- hygienic conditionsso human body no longer knows how to resist germs. Young David Greig as a cutter. Drank himself to death in his twenties; RS thinks it was suicide. Met Mrs (Ross) Greig, young DG’s mother, approx 1970s,details. RS running Rheumatism Society in Croydon for Rotary, tried to involve Mrs Daisy Greig, ‘an old bat’. Ross Greig, eldest son of original David Greig. Sam Greig. Firm went downhill when original DG died. Younger generation of Greigs came into firm - liquidation, details. Firm had started approx 1870 and built up from one shop. Description of Electric Avenue shop at street level. Eggs sold on pavement, arriving in ‘coffin’ boxes packed in straw, bought loose. Broken eggs. Mostly white eggs, uncleaned. After RS finished his training, went around four or five shops and was manager in last shop. Never worked in upstairs shop whilst at Atlantic Avenue. Shopman would advise customers as to how to use various cuts of meat.

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