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Harrison Barber—Horse Slaughterers

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  • Ah, still one of my favourites.


    I think when Harold Riley died in 1962, he left 86K. Grace died a few years later.

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    • sistersofthepoleaxe

      The Horse Slaughterer's Daughters:

      Two of my great, great aunts who for some reason bring Bonny Parker/Ma Baker to mind.

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      • sistersofthepoleaxe

        While researching the subject I have come across a few women described as horse-slaughterers. I'm not sure whether they actually wielded the poleaxe themselves, but I'd like to think so.

        I dread to think what Freud would have made of that.

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        • All The Year Round, 1860 (1/3)

          Thanks to Miss Marple on Casebook who pointed me in the direction of this article. It appears she is another Jack Atcheler fan.

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          • All The Year Round, 1860 (2/3)

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            • All The Year Round, 1860 (3/3)

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              • Sistersofthepoleaxe

                Hope Robert doesn't mind me pinching his idea.

                John Currell was the brother of Henry Currell, the Hertfordshire knacker who married into the Stronach family of Belle Isle and became one of the founders of HB.

                This is John's family on the 1881 census, in Rix's Yard, Hertford. His 17-year-old daughter, Emma, is shown as a horse-slaughterer. My kinda gal!



                Name Relation Age Birthplace Occupation
                John CURRELL Head 43 Hertford Laborer Horse Slaughterer
                Charlotte CURRELL Wife 39 Colchester Laborer Wife
                Emma CURRELL Daur 17 Colchester Laborer Horse Slaughter
                Eleanor CURRELL Daur 12 Curra Camp, Ireland Scholar
                Margaret CURRELL Daur 9 East Indies Scholar
                George CURRELL Son 6 East Indies Scholar
                Alfred CURRELL Son 7 Hertford Scholar
                Frederick CURRELL Son 3 Hertford

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                • sistersofthepoleaxe

                  This is from the (Dundee) Courier of 31st March, 1909:

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                  Not sure about the lady's mum being the only female knacker in the country. I'm sure we had one in Romford at the time.

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                  • sistersofthepolezxe

                    Painless Payne

                    From the Northampton Mercury 10th April, 1931:

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                    • Matilda Palmer 78 High St Romford 1911.

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                      • sistersofthepoleaxe

                        Matilda Palmer was the Romford lady knacker.

                        Described as a horse slaughterer she made it into the papers in 1909 when she ran her knackers cart into a family travelling in a motor bike and side car.

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                        • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                          Matilda Palmer 78 High St Romford 1911.
                          That's the one, Robert.

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                          • sistersofthepoleaxe

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                            • Bloody hell, coal heaving at that age.

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                              • sistersofthepoleaxe

                                Presumably what was unique about old Ma Payne prior to 1909 was that she personally had a knacker's licence.

                                In 1911, the widowed Matilda Palmer was the head of her household. One son was also a horse-slaughterer and another a butcher.

                                Although my knacker ancestry is on my dad's side, a cousin on my mum's side was a slaughterman in the 60s and I believe he worked for Palmer's. I remember being taken to the yard where he worked to see the (live) animals in their pens. He had a very impressive collection of knives etc wrapped up in a canvas carrying case.

                                I have tried to get him to talk me through the process, but either he's forgotten or he'd rather not recall it. He did tell of one trick that was employed on lame horses. The nerves to the injured foot would be severed so the horse couldn't feel any pain and would walk normally. The horse would then be (presumably illegally as it had been assigned to a knacker) sold on as a healthy animal.

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