Selling horses to Herbert for meat

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IN answer to your reader’s query about horse meat shops I think that I can throw a little light on this subject.

In the early 1940s, up to the mid 1950s, there were quite a few horse meat shops in Sheffield.

The one I remember most clearly was in Hereford Street, just off the Moor.

It belonged to a man called Herbert Thomas who ran the horse meat trade in Sheffield at that time.

He also owned a slaughter house, at the corner of Cricket Inn Road and Woodbourn Road (the building is still there but used for something totally different now).

During those years my father always had a horse and cart and if we had a horse that wouldn’t work my father would sell it to Herbert for horse meat, without giving it a second thought.

I am still amazed at how many horses Herbert put down in a week. I used to wonder where they all used to come from.

He had a small team of slaughter men and it was unbelievable how quickly they could put a horse down. In 20-30 minutes, it would be all over.

On the Friday afternoon I would see perhaps 100-150 horses, all colours and sizes, old and some not yet fully grown.

They always worked all week and on the Monday morning, every one would have gone.

A lot of families used to buy horse meat for the weekend joint.

You could always recognise it by the deep yellow fat on it.

Later on his main customers were the greyhound owners who would race their dogs at Owlerton, Hyde Park, Darnall and other tracks further afield.

A very good friend of my father was a big greyhound owner and if he didn’t want the dog to win on a certain day he would give him a good feed a few hours beforehand.

I know because I used to walk them for him.

Your reader’s question has reminded me of those times and I am filled with remorse and guilt, even though there was nothing I could have done to stop it, or save just one horse.

Derek Naylor, Wybourn, Sheffield S2