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Harrison Barber—Horse Slaughterers

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  • Gis a job! (4/9/1981)

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    • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
      Gis a job! (4/9/1981)
      Not a bad starting salary, for a job in Widnes in the early 1980s - £7K back then is around £26K today.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen"
      (F. Nietzsche)


      • Then why not drop it off at the Knackers yard rather than miles away at Dog Row


        • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
          Then why not drop it off at the Knackers yard rather than miles away at Dog Row
          Which knackers yard?


          • Ed,

            Is there a single piece of hard evidence that Hart slaughtered horses in the railway arch between 1878 and the Lechmere family anecdotes from the 1930s?

            An entry in a trade directory doesn’t do it, nor does a single press report of a horse which was supposed to be delivered there. Addresses listed in directories under Horse Slaughterers weren’t always knacker’s yards. Horses were often received at one location and slaughtered elsewhere.

            Surely, if Hart had been killing horses in that railway arch for longer than Atcheler etc had in Belle Isle, there’d be some record of it.


            • Where was the phantom site in Stratford in 1886? I have never seen it listed anywhere.

              The railway arch was advertised as a place where you could get your horse slaughtered more or less ever year between 1887 and 1900.
              Stratford or West Ham were never mentioned.


              • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                Where was the phantom site in Stratford in 1886? I have never seen it listed anywhere.

                The railway arch was advertised as a place where you could get your horse slaughtered more or less ever year between 1887 and 1900.
                Stratford or West Ham were never mentioned.
                Did I mention Stratford?

                I thought I said West Ham and Barking.

                As you know, the railway arch was advertised as the premises of a horse slaughterer, not as somewhere horses were slaughtered. Surely HB’s Queen Victoria Street alone shows you that.

                What about the BG MOH report, that’ll list all the slaughterhouses and knacker’s yards, won’t it?

                This kind of thing:

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                Incidentally there’s further evidence there that ‘Barber’s Yard’ at the rear of 37, Hanbury Street was a dairy and not a knackers yard as suggested by Drew.


                • Charles Hart wasn’t licensed to slaughter horses in 1878, and since no new knacker’s businesses could be established after 1874, he never could be (unless the slaughterhouses act was repealed).

                  Having been prosecuted and receiving a hefty fine in 1878 does it seem likely that he would have operated illegally and blatantly advertised the fact?


                  • I believe the 1875/78 report said Stratford.
                    But whether it was West Ham (which included Stratford) or Barking is irrelevant as no other premises were advertised by Hart except the railway arch (in Mile End Old Town, not Bethnal Green - Parliament Street was in Bethnal Green but I haven't seen health report books for either district).
                    And for a period in the 1890s a guy called Smythe advertised out of the same address as a slaughterhouse.
                    And we know that the railway arch was used as a slaughterhouse... unlike Queen Victoria Street.
                    And I have never claimed Hart was legitimate. Not everyone is as honest Gary!
                    As for the 1886 case, I have found a couple of references to Hart having an earlier operation in East Ham but it was gone by 1886.


                    • The 1878 report said West Ham.

                      What does the fact that Hart had premises out in the wilds of Essex but never advertised them tell you about his business model?

                      It tells me that he wasn’t collecting horses in Essex, just processing ones he’d acquired elsewhere. Where could that have been?

                      Can you show us Smythe’s advertising a slaughterhouse?

                      I mentioned Romford before. A small yard off the market place where HB acquired horses from all over Essex that were then taken to Stratford to be slaughtered. It was not a slaughterhouse, but you wouldn’t know that from its entry in trade directories. Not all the addresses listed for horse slaughtering companies were knackers yards. You need to look elsewhere to find that out.

                      I tried the BG MOH records and drew a blank. Perhaps you’ll be more lucky. If Hart was operating legally, there will be a record of it somewhere. If not, then we’re in the land of conjecture: because you have anecdotal evidence of him operating in such a way in the 1930s, you assume that not only was he doing so in the 1880s but that Ma Lechmere probably bought illegal meat from him and processed it surreptitiously in a shop in the Ratcliff Highway in the 1890s. (Have I got that right?)


                      • Thanks for this. Now we know for certain that Hart was in the horse meat boiling game.

                        No doubt he also boiled the bones to extract oils and then sold the still valuable bones as/for fertiliser.

                        Except for his special customers to whom he sold the meat on the bone? Did he charge for the weight of the bone, do you think? He’d hardly give it away, but why would a little old lady selling cats meat want to pay for something that was of no value to her but a bloody nuisance to remove? It’s a right conundrum.


                        • I'm not sure that I have the motivation to go to the Bishopsgate Institute to check through the trade registers again, nor to Tower Hamlets Archive to check through probably handwritten health committee reports from Mile End Old Town and Bethnal Green districts, as the exact ins and outs of Harts business is not very important to my thesis... if it is appropriate to use an academic expression in 'Ripperology'.

                          Here is a record for Smythe from 1892...
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                          What we have is records for Hart illegally using his premises in 1878.
                          We have regular trade entries advertising Railway Place as a slaughterhouse thereafter.
                          We have his East Ham site closing before 1886 and no other location thereafter being advertised.
                          We have another case in 1886.
                          We also know Hart sold meat for improper use around 1900 - almost certainly knowingly (condemned meat for human consumption, although he wasn't the one charged).
                          Then we have anecdotal evidence for the 1930s.

                          Old Ma Lechmere wasn't a street hawker of cat's meat. She had a more substantial operation - she was listed in trade directories. She almost certainly was a distributor who sold to the street hawkers and probably also from a shop direct to the public.
                          Her grandson carted horse meat around which again must have been in connection with wholesale delivery. Maybe directly related to his grandmother's business.
                          That grandson and his son later sold cat's meat from a stall in Broadway Market - by then certainly obtained from Hart's and in big slabs that required cutting up and boiling down before it was ready for sale.
                          I would suggest that it is quite possible that Old Ma Lechmere did the same, probably using Hart meat, but it wouldn't matter if it came from Harrison Barber, and there are plenty of records of dodgy goings on at Harrison Barber.


                          • Gary
                            I beat you to it with that East Ham link - which shows he was gone from there by 1886 when that bloke from Epping wanted his horse slaughtered by Hart at Dog Row - aka Railway Place.


                            • No! No! No!

                              We do not have a single advertisement listing slaughterhouses. We have advertisements listing contact addresses of horse slaughterers, some of which were knackers yards, others clearly not.

                              Ma Lechmere sold cats meat from her room(s?) on the corner of Artichoke Hill. Does that sound like a heavyweight wholesale business to you? It doesn’t to me.

                              And now we know that HB, the provincial firms who sold horsemeat into London and Hart sold boiled horseflesh, the likelihood of Ma (or rather Chucky) sawing up raw horse carcases becomes so remote it’s not worth considering.

                              I’m glad this isn’t a key element of your thesis.


                              • And Gary, I note, with approval, your recent belief that Charles Lechmere probably carted meat around London, all the more easy to disguise dismembered body parts prior to tossing them in the Thames and elsewhere.
                                Did Charles Lechmere give his mother the idea to get into the Cat's Meat distribution business?
                                If so, was the meat initially from the provinces via Broad Street? It seems logical, rather than being from Harrison Barber.
                                Supplemented from Harts maybe for a bit of off the back of a lorry type of extras?