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johndawsonjune1955

Who Remembers Pig Killing Day

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I was just pondering about pig killing day. Who remembers those days ? it was very common up here in the north and a good day was had by all. The bladder was used by kids for a football, do you remember ?

My dad kept pigs at Choppington, where the allotments are today. He had a bit land there at one time. I know when he killed his, as you could in those days, he had a mallet with a point on the end and hit the pig between the centre of its eyes to kill it.

You couldnt do that these days. However getting back to the pigs eyes. Just between the eyes was that the pigs skull lacked a complete boney bar behind the eye.

When the pig fell it would land on a bed of straw that was prepared before hand, to stop the meat from bruising.

After this i remember the next job was to bleed it and scald the carcass to remove the hair. Then chop off the head and remove the internal organs.

The people up here were very skilled at pig breeding and killing them. Every part was eaten, except the squeek.

Now WW2 you were restricted how many pigs you could keep. Now the government took so many from you and you kept some as they were bred. Maybe someone can put me right on that ?

Mind you, never mind your food coupons, if you knew the right person you got what you wanted. Any memories on that passed on from your parents ?

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My mothers side of the family farmed at Ulgham Manor (the farm that was behind the church). We were told many stories about the killings. There was a limit on what could be killed for personal use but I think they were allowed extra because they employed refugees (and POW's for that matter). They always had pig, sheep and cattle carcases hanging and just like anyone else they would try their luck and "do one or two more". One day someone gave them a shout that the man from the ministry was on his way (he would be doing a spot check to make sure they had not exceeded their limit), so they got some refugees to hide half the carcases. They were left whith (eg) 2 sides of each hanging (2 beef 2 pork 2 lamb / mutton ). When the inspector looked at them he marked them down as killed 2 pigs, 2 beast and 2 sheep. Why?, because the refugees had hidden all the right hand sides of the carcases so when the inspector looked and saw 2 left sides of each he just doubled his numbers. Apparently nothing much was said about it as the man from the ministry had an "extra large" parcel of meat for his trouble .

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My Mum said that that they kept 2 pigs during WW2; apparently that was the max families could keep under the law and the local Bobby used to come around and check. My Grandad used to get the butcher from the village Co-op to come down to kill the pigs (one done at different times of the year), they'd be strung-up on a tripod to be bled, via a cut throat, into a enamel bucket - my Mum's job was to keep the blood stirred so it didn't congeal then take it into my Granny who'd make the black pudding. The first time she saw this done during the War she was about 10 years old and had previously thought the pigs were her pets ... she caught her Dad & butcher doing the deed and accused them of murder and ran off in tears. Lots of different cuts of meat produced and some shared out with neighbours who'd supplied scraps (pig swill) during the year. There was no limit on other animals - they kept lots of hens and a couple of goats for milk.

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What a terrific story and a good WW2 fact on the limit of pigs and other animals.

Was it true that it was only certain times of the year they killed the pigs ? i think i remember nov or dec at the late part of the year on pig killing day. i think the pig was also starved for about 1 or 2 days prior to this killing.

Pigs were regarded as an important food supply too.

The hams and larger sides of bacon were an essential part of the diet for the coming months.

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My mothers side of the family farmed at Ulgham Manor (the farm that was behind the church). We were told many stories about the killings. There was a limit on what could be killed for personal use but I think they were allowed extra because they employed refugees (and POW's for that matter). They always had pig, sheep and cattle carcases hanging and just like anyone else they would try their luck and "do one or two more". One day someone gave them a shout that the man from the ministry was on his way (he would be doing a spot check to make sure they had not exceeded their limit), so they got some refugees to hide half the carcases. They were left whith (eg) 2 sides of each hanging (2 beef 2 pork 2 lamb / mutton ). When the inspector looked at them he marked them down as killed 2 pigs, 2 beast and 2 sheep. Why?, because the refugees had hidden all the right hand sides of the carcases so when the inspector looked and saw 2 left sides of each he just doubled his numbers. Apparently nothing much was said about it as the man from the ministry had an "extra large" parcel of meat for his trouble .

Yes they were in a good job wern't they and you had to keep them happy.

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i remember during the 19 40s after school was out me and my freind used to collect the peelings of potateos from teeny rices fish shop and take them to a man called surghles in eastgate for him to boil them for feed he used to get the butcher from guidepost called dennis to kill them he used to kill them by putting a sharp mettal spike on its head then hit it with a mettal hammer one day he faild to kill it with the first blow it went mental and started to run around the garden smashing every thing in its way .

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i remember during the 19 40s after school was out me and my freind used to collect the peelings of potateos from teeny rices fish shop and take them to a man called surghles in eastgate for him to boil them for feed he used to get the butcher from guidepost called dennis to kill them he used to kill them by putting a sharp mettal spike on its head then hit it with a mettal hammer one day he faild to kill it with the first blow it went mental and started to run around the garden smashing every thing in its way .

The pigs have got to be killed instantly or stress will taint the meat.

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i remember during the 19 40s after school was out me and my freind used to collect the peelings of potateos from teeny rices fish shop and take them to a man called surghles in eastgate for him to boil them for feed he used to get the butcher from guidepost called dennis to kill them he used to kill them by putting a sharp mettal spike on its head then hit it with a mettal hammer one day he faild to kill it with the first blow it went mental and started to run around the garden smashing every thing in its way .

yes, remember me dad having that prob. I an pleased its more humane these days tho.

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My dad was a slaughterman / butcher at the market place. I know he would kill pigs for those who had them at their homes or allotments. The one thing he was often asked to do was " just cut the throat Jack and let it run" he would always refuse. Apart from it being downright cruel it was a waste of black pudding. Also if any of you got your xmas turkey from Jimmy Mole it would have been my dad who killed and dressed it. Jimmy Mole lived at the Top end of Pioneer Tce, he had a shed and the field behind the miners cottages where Waverley Court is now

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I lived in Hollymount Square from age three years,having moved from Choppington.

One of the things that sticks in my mind vividly,was that on Sunday mornings,i used to be lying in bed,listening to the sound of pigs squealing,one after the other,with the sound of gunshots in between each set of squeals.

After each gunshot there was silence for a few minutes,then squeals again,gunshot,then silence.

It was "Hi-Ti",over the road,at the Co-op [store] slaughterhouse,around the back,doing the killing,to provide the weeks meat supply for the bacon counter.

One day,when we about Ten years old,we went around to watch Him,as we often did,eagerly waiting for the bladder to make a football with....!

He was in the process of cleaning the ..........er....raw tripe...,and boiling them in the open yard on a big "set-pot".

I can remember him dropping one of the "bags" onto the ground,cos it was heavy,and just picking it up and chucking it into the boiling water,and me feeling like....ugh...it's been on the ground...and me not even knowing what it was!

There was a big full-page spread in the "News of the ....."in the '50s when an inspector prosecuted the Co-op,for breaches of hygiene laws,and he said that on his visit,"the walls of the buildings outside the slaughterhouse,were covered in stale blood ,and literally...shimmering..with maggots.."

The joke was,as years went by,"saves you buying bacon..!"[figure it out!]

My older sister worked at the Co-op,after leaving school,and often used to be on the bacon counter,with

the old hand-slicer....

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