London Road

A Saturday job at the butchers

By Paul Clarkson

 
Photo:London Road/Marshall's Row: click on image to open a large view in a new window

London Road/Marshall's Row: click on image to open a large view in a new window

Photo by Tony Mould

The corner of Marshalls Row

In 1971 when I was 14 years old and living in Upper Lewes Road, I obtained a Saturday job at the butchers shop on the corner of Marshalls Row opposite Woolworths in London Road. I say I ‘obtained’ it, but it was my Dad who forced me into the shop as he thought he would get a joint of meat every weekend out of the leftovers – as it happened he did not. There is still a butchers there today and it hasn't changed much. I had to go between that shop, and another one around the corner on the approach to the Open Market, I presume they were both owned by the same butcher.

All the horrible jobs for me

My job involved doing all the horrible jobs like clearing up in the back room after all the meat was carved up, and scraping the wooden block with a metal scrubbing device at the end of the day to get rid of the blood. I used to smell horrible and needed a bath when I got home each Saturday. All this for the princely wage of just one pound. I also had to be subject to the usual pranks from the older full timers, having sawdust shoved down my shirt and being shut in the dark freezer for what seemed an eternity but it was probably only fifteen minutes.

The last straw

On my fourth Saturday in the afternoon, the manager told me I had to get together with the other Saturday boy and stand out in the street singing ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ as a treat for the shoppers. That was enough for me; I was out of there and I did not go back. A week later I got a brilliant part-time job at 'Foodrite' at the corner of Lewes Road and Franklin Road. It was a lot cleaner and the pay was more; best of all my singing talents were not required!

This page was added on 07/08/2013.
Comments about this page

Just before the date above I worked as a butcher's boy at Sainsburys 55 London Rd just up from the Branch Tavern and along from Marshalls Row. All the jobs that Paul performed bring back many memories,all butcher's boys started the same way! Being shut in the cold store was obligatory; scraping the block, doing the mince, the pigs liver, the ox liver, the lambs liver, seperating 'lights' (still not too sure of their animal origin!). Of course there were light-hearted compensations, I particularly remember having 'sword-fights' using frozen Argentine ox tails! Being somewhat of a puny teenager I was alloted the task of carrying frozen New Zealand lambs from the lorry to the store, lambs were not difficult, but a few carcases in, the meat loader would suddenly lumber you with an Argentine beef quarter...which are huge...and very heavy. After a few paces from the lorry, knees buckling, I slumped to the floor with much raucous laughter all round from the butchers. There were some very pleasurable moments, my favourite being when I was the 'fat-beater' for a couple of lovely old boys who were stringing up the beef joints. They were funds of stories about old Brighton and both had served in WWII so it was bliss to hear all their tales, some I even retell in my lectures now! Thanks to Arthur Eustace and Bill Tuddenham, two of natures gents, and long gone to the Great Butcher in the sky.

By Geoffrey Mead (08/08/2013)

My great uncle Charles Reeves opened a butchers shop at 109 London Road, corner of Marshalls Row - I'm a little hazy now on dates and things. It's good to see the premises still in use as a butchers. My last visit was c 1997, when I met the then owner of the business. Doesn't seem to have changed much since my visit. I made a number of posts on here at the time, can't seem to trace them now! My uncle lived at Stanford Avenue up until his death c 1949.

By Stuart Reeves (17/11/2013)

I worked at the Butchers shop in photo when it was called Sussex farm products in 1973-74. The Manager then was a guy called Terry, and Keith Angel the under manager, Chubbs who I think passed away in recent years. Plus I do remember a Saturday lad who we called Womble. I had some great days working there. I remember we used to collect all the money from the pets mince we sold in a bag above the till, and share it out at xmas time. Once when the owner (Rod Laver) was visiting the shop, the bag of money broke and fell onto the shop floor. He didn't know about this collection we had going, and the manager had to make some excuse as to what it was for. (cant remember what it was) I used to Play for the Elephant and Castle pub Football team in London Rd.

By Jozef Kis (08/01/2015)

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