Stedman, Ronald (26 of 32). Food: From Source to Salespoint
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1999-09-08, 1999-09-30, 1999-10-28, 1999-11-17, 2000-04-20
Interviewee's home and Butchers' Hall, London
Stedman, Ronald, 1917-2009 (speaker, male)
Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)
Part 26: Tape 13 Side B: Stress cont but loved job and thrust of Smithfield market. Life insurance needed because of the amount of money borrowed from banks to buy shops. Banks’ policy changed approx 25 years ago. No BSC equivalent – ‘science hadn’t got that far’. Never considered margin to be precarious. Changes in eating habits. By end RS had buying office in Boundary House, Charterhouse Street, staff approx 20 people. Oversaw business. Girls did not go into buying business, this no longer the case. Women in the north had greater tendency to go into the meat trade and run shops as more used to roughing it. RS first wanted an assistant meat buyer. Purchase of shop in 28 James’ Street, near Selfridges. Turned it into most modern butchers’ shop in London, high-class meat, served gentry and titled people. Details of this shop. Scotch beef for James Street shop, because the best. Best lambs are Sussex area. Welsh lambs not good because grazing bad. Game for James Street shop, bought from Smithfield. Post war staffing problems with rising salaries. Relationship between shops belonging to RS and GR. RS held party annually in Butchers Hall for all staff; Manager of the Year competition. Would change the names of shops when they were bought. No staff unions, now probably TGWU. Last strike finished Smithfield as trading centre. Depots opened outside of London. Depots for fresh and frozen meat on outskirts of London run by owners of Smithfield shops took half the trade with them during 1960s and 1970s. Last strike was the porters wanting more money.