I found a very interesting press report the other day. It concerns a Cheshire knacker named Aaron Blood (I kid you not) who sent a consignment of cats meat (boiled and boned horseflesh) by train to a cat’s meat salesman named John Stockton in Bethnal Green. I’m not sure which London terminus the meat arrived at, but for various reasons Broad Street would seem highly likely.

The meat was collected from the London station by a Pickfords driver named Thomas Ellem and taken to Bethnal Green but Stockton refused it, claiming that it was putrid. Ellem then took the meat to another local cat’s meat salesman to see if he would accept it, but he too rejected it.

It’s not clear what happened to the putrid meat, but Stockton withheld payment for it and was sued buy Blood. In court, Blood was partially successful, being awarded £2 1s 6d and costs, which was £3 short of his original claim. Why he got anything at all is a bit of a mystery. It was demonstrated that the railway company (presumably the LNWR) had transported it in a timely fashion and its putrid state on arrival was seemingly corroborated by the second cats meat salesman.

The John Stockton in question was, I believe, Harriet Hardiman’s brother and in 1877 he was living in Summerford Street off Brady Street.

So far I’ve been unable to track down Thomas Ellem. His address might provide a clue as to which station the meat arrived at. I find it interesting that he attempted to offload the meat onto another salesman. It’s possible that he initially took it back to Broad Street and was there instructed to do so, but it seems more likely that he had sufficient local knowledge and contacts to act on his own initiative.