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Harrison Barber—Horse Slaughterers

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  • Your point 1 was that he took his horse to an unknown place in West Ham - not a very convincing argument... in my opinion.

    Of course I think Gray's stuff is ridiculous nonsense - as for Hardiman being a knacker, that tangentially entered a discussion some years ago but in a way that was not relevant to me and I didn't really express an opinion - I think. I re-read some of it recently.


    • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
      Your point 1 was that he took his horse to an unknown place in West Ham - not a very convincing argument... in my opinion.

      Of course I think Gray's stuff is ridiculous nonsense - as for Hardiman being a knacker, that tangentially entered a discussion some years ago but in a way that was not relevant to me and I didn't really express an opinion - I think. I re-read some of it recently.
      I’ve no idea whether it would have been West Ham, East Ham, Barking or somewhere else, but he obviously carried on business in such places. He had a horse-boiling factory in East Ham and he was apparently licensed to slaughter in West Ham at one stage. All the while, he only advertised his services out of the railway arch?

      How could that work, I wonder?

      What’s not convincing about a knacker buying/collecting horses at one location and taking them somewhere else to be slaughtered? It’s what HB did at their small Romford Yard and before that in the yard of the Windmill and Bells in the Market Place.

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      I looked back at the old Hardiman discussion myself a few days back. I thought you had expressed an opinion, but maybe I got that wrong.


      • The End of the Story

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        • Human consumption of horse meat increased during the two world wars, as a result of food shortages I’d always imagined.

          But it’s just occurred to me there may have been another factor during WWI - the influx of Belgian refugees.

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          From The Woman’s Dreadnought, 1916.


          • Yes, the papers suggest that Belgian refugees were an influence.


            • Before WWI, exporting horses to Belgium for human consumption was a more lucrative alternative to selling them to HB to be turned into cats’ meat. I’ve wondered whether horse dealer Stephen Maywood made Belgian connections that way.


              • This is from The Nairnshire Mirror of 3rd August, 1850.

                A LONDON KNACKER’S YARD

                Charles Dickens has published the following statement :- “ It is a large knacker’s yard, furnished with all the usual apparatus for slaughtering diseased and worn out horses, and plentifully bestrewn with the reeking members and frightful refuse of the morning’s work. But even before the eye, usually the first and quickest organ in action, has time to glance round, the sense of smell is not only assailed, but taken by storm, with a most horrible, warm, moist effluvium, so offensive, and at the same time so peculiar and potent, that it requires no small resolution in any one not accustomed to it to remain a minute within its precincts. Three of the corners are completely filled up with a heap of dead horses lying on their backs, with their hoofs sticking bolt upright; while two other angles in the yard are filled with a mass of bodies and fragments, whose projecting legs and other members serve as stretchers for raw skins - flayed from their companions or from themselves, lying all discoloured, yet in all colours, beneath. By this means the skins are stretched out to dry. A few live animals are in the yard. There is one horse - waiting for his turn - as the ox-party come in; his knees are bent, his head is bowed towards the slushy ground, his dripping mane falling over his face, and almost reaching with its lank end to the dark muddled gore in which his fore hoofs are planted. A strange, ghastly rattling sound, apparently from the adjoining premises, is kept up without intermission; a sort of inconceivably rapid devil’s tattoo, by way of accompaniment to the hideous scene. Two dead horses are being skinned, but all the other animals - of the four-footed class we mean - are bullocks, in different stages of disease, and they are seven in number. These latter have not been condemned by the inspector, but have been brought here to undergo a last effort for the purpose of being made saleable - washed and scrubbed so as to have the chance of finding a purchaser by torchlight at some very low price, and, failing in this, to be killed before they die, or cut up as soon after as possible. They were all distinguished by slang terms, according to the nature and stage of their disease. The two best of these bad bullocks are designated as “choppers;” the three next, whose hides are torn in several places, are called “rough uns;” while those who are in a drooping and reeking condition, with literally a death sweat all over them, are playfully called “wet uns.” To this latter class belongs our poor ox, who is now brought in, and formally introduced by the inspector as diseased, and condemned. The others he does not see, or, at least, does not notice - his business being with the ox, who was the last comer. Having this performed his duty, the inspector retires. But what is this ceaseless rattling tattoo that is kept up in the adjoining premises? Yes - it is a chopping machine. Here in this alley you behold the largest slaughter-house, and here next door, you will find the largest sausage-manufactory in London. The two establishments belong to near relations - brothers, we believe, or brothers-in-law.”

                The yard in question would have been Jack Atcheler’s in Sharp’s Alley, Clerkenwell. I think the sausage maker was a Mr Lansdowne but, apart from being his close neighbour, I’m not sure what his connection to Atcheler was.


                • Maginnes Ribbins

                  I found this in the NA today. It seems Maginnes Ribbins didn’t even got off the starting blocks. And the Ribbins family were still operating in Greenwich in 1887 (1888 Kelly’s directory).

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                  • So, it appears that HB did not have a foothold on the Greenwich peninsular in early 1887, as had been suggested.

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                    Kelly’s Suburban Directory, 1888.

                    Nice work as always, Gary


                    • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                      Gary, what was John senr's wife's name?
                      I now believe it may have been Elizabeth (née Evans).

                      In 1851, the family were living at 6, Bury New Road, Cheetham, Manchester.

                      Head: John Harrison/33/Calico Commission Agent/Yorkshire Newton
                      Wife: Elizabeth/36/Cheshire Mire (Mere?)
                      Son: Thomas E(vans)/6/Manchester
                      Dau: Mary J(ane)/5/Manchester
                      Son: John/1/Manchester


                      • Charles Hart

                        Something for Mr Stow:

                        SECRETS OF THE SAUSAGE TRADE

                        PUTRID CATS’ MEAT USED

                        TRADESMEN HEAVILY FINED

                        At North London Police Court, yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bros was engaged for a considerable time in hearing two summonses, one against Frederick Thomas Adams, a wholesale sausage manufacturer, of Chalmers Road, Homerton, for having on his premises unsound meat for the preparation of food for human consumption; and the other against Charles Hart, jun., cats’ meat salesman, for selling such unsound meat with a knowledge that it was unfit for human consumption.

                        Mr. Horace Avory prosecuted for the Hackney Vestry; Mr Bodkin defended Adams; and Mr. C. V. Young defended Hart.

                        Mr. Horace Avory, in opening the case, said he appeared for the Hackney Vestry. These proceedings were taken under section 47 of the Public Health (London) Act, 1891. The case here was that the defendant Hart, who carried on business at 165, Railway Place, Mile End Old Town, as a wholesale cats’ meat vendor, did, on the 19th of April deliver and sell to Adams (who was a sausage maker) 14lbs of meat which was absolutely unfit for the food of man. It appeared, indeed, that the meat, which was not good enough for cats, was good enough for sausages. The Hackney Vestry, in consequence of information received, employed their inspectors to keep observation upon the defendants. Two inspectors seized four pieces of the meat, and pointed out that it was quite unfit for human consumption. The meat was brought to the Court on the same afternoon, and the Magistrate (Mr. Bros) condemned it. Mr. Adams’s manager was told that the meat was about to be taken to the police court, and a representative attended at the Court, and raised no objection to the condemnation of the meat. The following day Mr. Adams called upon the Medical Officer of Health for Hackney, and said he was sorry he was away from his premises at the time the meat was seized. He hoped, however, the matter would go no further. Adams further said that he had made arrangements with Hart to send him sound meat whenever he can across a good carcase. He added that he was compelled to deal this way (meaning with the cats’ meat man) owing to the competition in the trade.

                        Dr John King Warry, Medical Officer of Hackney, said he was called to Chalmers Road, the premises of the defendant Adams. He saw a quantity of meat taken from a cart. Some of it had commenced decomposition. It was beef which had not been slaughtered, but had died a natural death. Possibly, but he could not say positively, one piece was from an animal which had suffered from tuberculosis.

                        Mr Bodkin said his case was that Adams never bought the meat and never saw the meat, and his people would not have dealt with it until he had seen it. As a fact, Mr. Adams was away at Epsom on the day in question, and he had no knowledge that the meat was coming. Richard Pitts, Mr. Adams’s manager, had no authority to purchase or use meat without his principal’s seeing it. So this meat had not been deposited within the meaning of the Act for the purpose of being prepared for food.

                        The defendant Adams was called, and said that he was at Epsom on the 19th of April. He had no previous intimation that the meat was coming from Hart’s and knew nothing of it until he heard of the seizure.

                        By the Magistrate: I only carry on a wholesale trade with men who understand the goods, and do not sell by retail to private consumers. I make sausages.

                        The defendant Hart was called, and said that he bought a large number of carcases, some of which he sold as cat’s meat, and others he boiled down for soap and candle makers. He had had two or three transactions with Adams, his plan being to send carcases which were too good for cat’s meat and too valuable for boiling down. He sent the meat in question on approval for him to purchase or send back as he pleased.

                        Mr. Bodkin: Where did this meat come from?

                        Hart: I don’t know. It comes from the country - Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool. It is not ordinary butcher’s meat that comes to me. Mine is a cat’s meat business. Some of the meat is slaughtered , some has met with accidents.

                        Mr Bodkin: And some die from disease?

                        Hart: Yes, a lot of them do.

                        Mr. Bros, in deciding the case, said it was a question of very great importance to the public that they should have their food good and wholesome. He (the Magistrate)
                        took it that both Adams and Hart were men of good character, and that they had never before been convicted of this offence.

                        Mr. Horace Avory: I believe that is so.

                        Mr. Bros: I ask this question, because if it was a second offence, I would send them to prison without the option of a fine in order to out a stop to the system. As it is, the will each be fined £50 or two months’ imprisonment.

                        The fines were at once paid.

                        From the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star 11th May, 1899


                        • Here's a baptism.
                          Attached Files


                          • Thanks, Rob.

                            That’s where I got the ‘Evans’ from. Have you found John Jun?

                            The names, ages and DOB’s of the two JH’s we later find in Islington tie up rather nicely. Also the occupations, warehouseman and calico commission agent, don’t contradict senr being comfortably retired in the late 1860s before falling into the knacker business.


                            • Sorry Gary, haven't found the other two baptisms or even the marriage.


                              • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                                Sorry Gary, haven't found the other two baptisms or even the marriage.
                                I have both John and Mary Jane on the GRO index.