Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Harrison Barber—Horse Slaughterers

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I've finally discovered the name of the Whitechapel 'horse coroner' in 1888 - John Hall.

    I think this may be him appearing at the Old Bailey charged with electoral fraud in 1891:


    https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/brow...-214#highlight

    If I've got the right man he was a linen draper, registrar of births marriages and deaths for the Whitechapel Church subdistrict, an insurance broker, Secretary of the Pioneer Building Society and the Liberal and Radical Registration Agent.

    He should have been in Winthrop Street on the night Polly was murdered, inspecting the 3/4 horses killed and butchered by Tomkins, Mumford and Bretton. I now think it's highly unlikely that he was.

    But he did make one contribution to the night's events - he signed Polly's death certificate.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpeg
Views:	1
Size:	259.2 KB
ID:	558255

    Comment


    • So how would this have worked, the same man had to be present at all horse slaughtering, day and night?
      Thanks for your time,
      dusty miller

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
        So how would this have worked, the same man had to be present at all horse slaughtering, day and night?
        In theory, yes, but I believe most horses were in fact slaughtered at night. And in practice, it seems the regulations were flouted.

        Caleb Hunt, the long-standing, but unqualified, inspector at Harrison's yard in Islington, does seem to have been more hands on than Hall the linen draper. He was described as a farrier and he lived at the slaughter yard.

        Did Alfred Barber and his slaughtermen handle everything themselves and just get Hall to fill out the necessary forms? Or did someone from Head Office pop over when the need arose?

        Comment


        • This is John Harrison speaking to the journalist from All The Year Round:

          The act of parliament says that horses are only to be slaughtered in certain hours; but that part of it has become a dead letter, simply because cats prefer the taste of horse flesh which had been newly-killed. Custom, sir, has overridden law, as it often does, and all because the London Tabbies are so dainty that they don't like horse that's been killed too long overnight.


          The vast majority of horseflesh was turned into cat's meat that was delivered fresh each morning.

          Comment


          • From the East London Observer 0f 12th September, 1891.


            Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpeg
Views:	1
Size:	76.6 KB
ID:	558256

            Comment


            • Absolutely fascinating stuff. There is just so much we don't yet know!
              Thanks for your time,
              dusty miller

              Comment


              • Good find, Gary. I confess I don't see how one man could be present everywhere - it's not as though horses were only slaughtered once in a blue moon.

                Comment


                • Great find Gary,

                  I also doubt he was there all night every night.
                  Probably easiest was to sign off in advance, so maybe he looked at animals at start of the shift. At least then he could say he had inspected the animals.
                  Alternatively he signed after the event having not seen the animals alive.

                  It does seem remarkable that no formal qualifications or experience seem to have been required for the position.


                  Steve

                  Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                  I've finally discovered the name of the Whitechapel 'horse coroner' in 1888 - John Hall.

                  I think this may be him appearing at the Old Bailey charged with electoral fraud in 1891:


                  https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/brow...-214#highlight

                  If I've got the right man he was a linen draper, registrar of births marriages and deaths for the Whitechapel Church subdistrict, an insurance broker, Secretary of the Pioneer Building Society and the Liberal and Radical Registration Agent.

                  He should have been in Winthrop Street on the night Polly was murdered, inspecting the 3/4 horses killed and butchered by Tomkins, Mumford and Bretton. I now think it's highly unlikely that he was.

                  But he did make one contribution to the night's events - he signed Polly's death certificate.

                  Comment


                  • As Robert said, surely he can't have been present at all slaughterings? How many companies would he have been responsible for and how far apart would they have been? Was he supposed to watch the kill? Or just check the horse afterward?

                    Apologies for asking things that you've probably already answered Gary.
                    Regards

                    Michael🔎


                    " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post
                      As Robert said, surely he can't have been present at all slaughterings? How many companies would he have been responsible for and how far apart would they have been? Was he supposed to watch the kill? Or just check the horse afterward?

                      Apologies for asking things that you've probably already answered Gary.
                      He was only responsible for Whitechapel and there was only one knacker's yard in Whitechapel.

                      Hall himself admitted the job was a sinecure. It was said that he only turned up on a Saturday night to collect his fees.

                      But if we take the night of 30/31 August, how arduous would his job have been if he had done it properly? He would have had to witness the killing of the 3/4 horses, checked them over internally and externally for disease and then completed some paperwork.

                      Hall's background was very different from that of Caleb Hunt in Islington. Hunt at least knew one end of a horse from another, whereas I'm not convinced that Hall did.

                      If he was unqualified, and in any case rarely present, who checked the horses for the dreaded glanders or farcy - deadly diseases that could infect humans?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Steve Blomer View Post
                        Great find Gary,

                        I also doubt he was there all night every night.
                        Probably easiest was to sign off in advance, so maybe he looked at animals at start of the shift. At least then he could say he had inspected the animals.
                        Alternatively he signed after the event having not seen the animals alive.

                        It does seem remarkable that no formal qualifications or experience seem to have been required for the position.


                        Steve
                        Yes, Steve, I'm thinking the same way. But he would have been taking a risk. The knacker might be tempted to overlook a bit of communicable disease here and there. And from what I have read the inspector received a fee per horse slaughtered.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                          Good find, Gary. I confess I don't see how one man could be present everywhere - it's not as though horses were only slaughtered once in a blue moon.
                          What really surprises me is that only three horses were killed that night. I would have imagined there would have been more.

                          I wonder to what extent they moved their product from yard to yard to stabilise the supply?

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
                            Absolutely fascinating stuff. There is just so much we don't yet know!
                            Hi Dusty,

                            You're right there. I was keen to put a name to this guy because Caleb Hunt, his equivalent over in Islington (HB's head office), seems to have been ever present and very hands on. At one stage he lived at the yard and he got into trouble for actually running the business while John Harrison was ill (an obvious conflict of interests).

                            I so wish there was an HB equivalent of Gerald Turnbull's book about Pickfords.

                            I'm not totally sure but I think John Harrison, having created the firm in 1885/6, bailed out within a couple of years. I've searched for him on Ancestry but no luck so far.


                            Gary

                            Comment


                            • How long would it have taken them to kill 3 horses and do what they had to do? Was that just a quiet night or was 3 horses killed par for the course? Was the Islington operation a bigger one?

                              It seems such a strange job (Hall's I mean). Was his job purely to check the hygiene of the meat or was he responsible for seeing that the horses were killed humanely? Steve's suggestion is surely a possibility? As the Old Bailey trial shows Hall obviously wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue. The whole operation appears ripe for backhanders and dodgy dealing?

                              Obvious the Barnett family wouldn't be involved in any way of course
                              Regards

                              Michael🔎


                              " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post
                                How long would it have taken them to kill 3 horses and do what they had to do? Was that just a quiet night or was 3 horses killed par for the course? Was the Islington operation a bigger one?

                                It seems such a strange job (Hall's I mean). Was his job purely to check the hygiene of the meat or was he responsible for seeing that the horses were killed humanely? Steve's suggestion is surely a possibility? As the Old Bailey trial shows Hall obviously wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue. The whole operation appears ripe for backhanders and dodgy dealing?

                                Obvious the Barnett family wouldn't be involved in any way of course
                                At John Harrison's Islington yard there was a superstar knacker named 'Potler' who could allegedly kill and strip (butcher) a horse singlehandedly in 25 minutes. So 3 horses between 3 men over an 8 hour shift seems quite a quiet night.

                                I'm glad you're convinced of the probity of the Barnett clan ( I'm not so sure myself;-))

                                From what I've read, the inspector's main concerns were public health, horse theft and animal welfare. This is from the South London Chronicle of 18th April, 1874:
                                Attached Files

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X