Old Mo’s fond food mem­o­ries of town

The de­lec­ta­ble fag­gots from Grim­ley’s

Loughborough Echo - - LOOKING BACK -

LOOK­ING Back reader Old Mo’ has been sent some more bril­liant rec­ol­lec­tions into the news­pa­per.

The last time he wrote in Old Mo spoke of Simp­kin and James around the time of Lough­bor­ough Fair and this time round his mem­o­ries have a dis­tinctly foody flavour to them.

Old Mo writes: “Many, I am sure, will re­mem­ber the Cat­tle Mar­ket, where the Christ­mas Fat Stock Show took place, and where the finest an­i­mals were awarded prizes. Here, the butch­ers of the county and our lo­cal butch­ers would bid against each other for their prize beasts.

“The win­ners would dis­play rosettes and prizes in their shops. They were so proud to present the ‘best’, and im­press their cus­tomers.

“This was a pe­riod when cus­tomers showed their loy­alty to their butcher.

“If a butcher sold his busi­ness, the good­will was sold on too. In those days, there was such a vast choice of shops. One re­mained loyal, and in re­turn, was of­fered good ser­vice.

“There were two types of butcher: the Pork butcher, who orig­i­nally sold only pork prod­ucts, and the oth­ers, who only sold pork when there was an ‘ R’ in the month!

“Lough­bor­ough was well known for its pork butch­ers, who all prided them­selves on their pro­duc­tions. For ex­am­ple, Lac- ey’s, of Derby Square, sent their pork pies all over the coun­try, and would de­liver them within 24 hours.

“It was not ‘Christ­mas’ un­less one had the tra­di­tional Christ­mas morn­ing break­fast of a Lacey’s Pork Pie.

“Then, one re­mem­bers the old es­tab­lished Hasen­fuss pork butcher, in Ward’s End.

“Their finest qual­ity prod­ucts con­tained no preser­va­tives, there­fore needed to be con­sumed within two or three days. Trou­bling, then, to have to ac­knowl­edge that, dur­ing the First World War, this fam­ily shop was at­tacked, and win­dows were bro­ken, just be­cause the fam­ily were of Ger­man ori­gin.

“The first lady Mayor of Lough­bor­ough (1947-8), Miss Hilda Dormer, was a mem­ber of the Dormer fam­ily, whose butcher’s busi­ness, lo­cated in Derby Square, next to Lacey’s, was well known for de­li­cious fag­gots!

“Also well re­mem­bered was Barker, the butcher’s busi­ness on Toothill Road. On Tues­day teatimes, one took an empty basin along to the shop, and re­turned home with a bas­in­ful of hot fag­gots and gravy!

“For the present gen­er­a­tion, the most notable butcher who pro­duced fag­gots was Grim­ley’s, in Bax­ter Gate, un­til they closed. They were the last of the great­est!

“How­ever, ‘what goes around, comes around’, as the say­ing goes, and per­haps it is not too late for an en­ter­pris­ing per­son to ob­tain the se­crets of de­lec­ta­ble fag­gots from the Grim­ley fam­ily. Per­haps the last chance to re­tain part of the bor­ough’s past?

“Dur­ing the war there were cer­tain foods that were not ra­tioned. Sausage was one such food. This was be­cause sausage could nei­ther be called ‘pork’ nor ‘beef’; they con­sisted of only a per­cent­age of meat.

“The Tay­lors, a brother and sis­ter from Wymeswold, stood on Lough­bor­ough Mar­ket, sell­ing home­made sausages and pies. Enor­mous queues formed there.

The busi­ness of Roberts and Birch, in the Mar­ket Place, had queues form­ing from 6 o’clock in the morn­ing, just to buy their sausages and pies!

“At one pe­riod, they made lux­ury game sausages. These were al­most al­ways avail­able, due to the high price.

“What came first? Money or food?

“Noth­ing to­day can com­pare to the taste of these butch­ers’ prod­ucts, es­pe­cially when we con­sider the wartime re­stric­tions that were im­posed upon them. Maybe it was just the tasty nat­u­ral sea­son­ings or the lack of ad­di­tives that de­lighted our taste buds! Cer­tainly, their art of us­ing the “best one had” died with them all.

“Other thoughts of food come to mind.

“At Christ­mas, be­fore the war, a char­i­ta­ble event would be or­gan­ised, which was known as ‘Rob- in’s Break­fast’. This in­volved the poor­est lo­cal chil­dren go­ing to the Town Hall, where meals were pro­vided by gen­er­ous busi­ness­men.

“One would see the chil­dren mak­ing their way to the Town Hall, early in the morn­ing of Christ­mas Eve. (or was it Christ­mas Day morn­ing?

“Are there any Lough­bor­ough Echo read­ers who can shed light upon this, for me, please?)

“Dur­ing the war, the old Labour Club build­ing in Fen­nel Street was used as a British Restau­rant (a non-profit Gov­ern­ment run es­tab­lish­ment) that pro­vided meals at a rea­son­ably priced al­ter­na­tive to the lo­cal com­mer­cial eat­ing places.

“My aunt man­aged one of the British restau­rants, and I well re­mem­ber en­joy­ing a meal of sausages and mash on Satur­days, at a cost of 6 old pence.

“In the even­ing, my un­cle had a dif­fer­ent role to per­form - to go and put rat poi­son down; es­sen­tial for the pub­lic’s health, with­out a doubt.

“My fi­nal thought: Peo­ple needed fuel to cook their food, and I re­mem­ber the Gas Works in Green­close Lane, which would be packed solid with peo­ple with trucks, prams etc., wait­ing to ob­tain a ra­tion of coke, at 6 old pence a tranche.

“Whether it be sausages or fuel, it was quite nat­u­ral to queue for every­thing that was off ra­tion! What days those were!”

Artist’s im­pres­sion of shop re­de­vel­op­ment printed in the Lough­bor­ough Echo March 20th 1964, at the cor­ner of Church­gate and Vic­tory Pas­sage. and in­cluded Bai­ley’s butch­ers. There had been a butcher’s on the same site since 1837. Mr J T Bai­ley took over the premises in 1909.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.