In November 2014 I wrote about my great grandfather John Thomas Ashworth and his one time employer, The River Plate Fresh Meat company. The blogpost is here if you missed it.
A couple of days ago I was contacted by a reader who is a specialist historian of the Meat Industry with information about his marvellous collection of photographs displayed on Flickr.
As well as several photos of The River Plate Fresh Meat company there are hundreds of other interesting photos. The site is really well worth a visit and is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/32200120@N08/albums. Many thanks to Mr Norman Finnimore for sharing the information and all the images.
On the subject of meat, I'm reminded of moving to Lincolnshire in the early 1960s. My dad was a Public Health Inspector and one of the items passed on to him by his predecessor was a bunch of keys for the town slaughter house.
It was dad's responsibility in his new job to ensure that no contaminated meat entered the food chain. He'd undertaken a special course in meat inspection a few years earlier and in his previous job he'd worked for part of the time in an industrial scale slaughter house.
After we moved to Lincolnshire I went with him to the slaughter house on a couple of occasions. I was horrified at the stench and the blood splattered walls. The disgusting growths, ulcers and carbuncles on the contaminated meat had to be painted with a yellow dye, stamped with my dad's own, personal ID and declared unfit for human consumption.
This was not a part of dad's job I envied and if I'd realised it was an option I would have become a vegetarian!
Great grandfather Thomas Ashworth, who had a long career in the meat industry, was actually from my mother's side of the family. My dad came from several generations of coal miners so what inspired him to become a meat inspector is anybody's guess. When I asked him the only reply I ever received was that "way leads on to way". Meat inspection wasn't the whole of his job, of course. There was refuse collection, pest control and blocked drains too!
You can read more of my memories of the 1950s and 60s in Cabbage and Semolina and Jam for Tea both available as ebooks and paperbacks from Amazon.
John Thomas was the oldest child of Richard and Ellen Ashworth.. He was born near Bacup, Lancashire in 1871. Initially Richard Ashworth was a farm labourer employed on a 20 acres farm owned by his mother but later Richard and Ellen farmed 26 acres for themselves at Thorn Farm. They were still farming at Thorn Farm in 1891 but by then John Thomas had become a butcher and moved to Burnley.
One of John Thomas' sons became a butcher too but my grandfather, Horace Ashworth, didn't pursue a career in the meat industry. Instead he managed to get a job in the railway industry and eventually became a steam locomotive driver.