A sight of Christmas past at town butcher’s

East Street butcher Frank Seppings proudly displays haunches of the prize bullock he bought at the cattle market, along with a choice of poultry after rationing ends. ANL-161213-175319001
East Street butcher Frank Seppings proudly displays haunches of the prize bullock he bought at the cattle market, along with a choice of poultry after rationing ends. ANL-161213-175319001

Christmas 1955 and a sight that would have gladdened hearts in Sudbury. An abundance of meat and poultry hanging up in the street and on sale to anyone with the money to buy.

After 14 years of wartime controls meat rationing had ended the previous year and the trade had geared up for a bumper Christmas. East Street butcher Frank Seppings proudly displayed haunches of the prize bullock he bought at the cattle market, along with a choice of poultry.

Shown in the photo, he is seen in the white coat on the left. On the right in white is his son Frank junior and in the middle is the silver cup won by the bullock.

This photo comes from the Sudbury Museum Trust historic archive of more than 1,000 images.

Scores of the trust’s photos will be displayed on the big screen in a Caught on Camera presentation at the Quay Theatre on January 20 at 7.30pm.

The six other butchers in the town would have sported similar shop front arrays of raw animal.

Environmental food regulations were still a long way off into the future.

“That’s was how it was sold then,” said Pauline Seppings, who married Frank Seppings junior who took over from his father.

Now 80, she remembers when customer relationships were very personal. They lived over the shop and one year the family turkey she had ready for the oven was taken downstairs and sold to a desperate last-minute customer.

Now the supermarkets dominate the Christmas turkey market and only one butcher’s shop survives in Sudbury.

The Seppings business along with its slaughterhouse behind, was demolished long ago and Elizabeth House stands on the site.

As for the turkeys, most will be bought this year in hygienic packaging.

n What are your memories of Christmas food traditions from the past? Contact us using the details on P12-13.