Leisure => Retail => General Stores => Topic started by: Bryn Clinch on August 02, 2011, 17:39:31

Title: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Bryn Clinch on August 02, 2011, 17:39:31
Does anyone know what happened to Vyes? They had a shop in Whitstable near the railway bridge and also in Sittingbourne High Street, approximately opposite Central Avenue. I think there were branches all over Kent that have completely disappeared. If I remember correctly, if you were`somebody` in Sittingbourne you shopped at Hulburds and Vyes came next. For the rest of us it was the Co-op, Liptons, Maypole, David Griegs, etc. A few years ago "Vyes the Kentish Grocer" was signwritten on the side of a shop near the railway bridge (I think it`s Oxford Street) Whitstable but it appears to have been overpainted now.

Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: seafordpete on August 02, 2011, 18:25:23
Not sure but think they became VG then Mace  and then they were broken up to independants and  Supermarket Locals
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: grandarog on August 02, 2011, 18:44:41
Hi Bryn Clinch :),
                     Vyes were still going in the early 1950,s in Sittingbourne.In fact they had well over 40 stores across Kent.
  Although they were always refered to simply as Vyes ,the company was actually Vye and Son,founded in 1817. calling themselves"The Kentish Grocers"  .
I believe they were taken over by a supermarket chain and then asset stripped and  sold off (ala Safeway by Morrison in 2006). Heres the Sign you refered to.Scroll down to find it.
http://artanorak.tumblr.com/post/1726193392/ghost-signs-and-the-typography-gene
                                              Grandarog.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiler on August 02, 2011, 19:27:03
After I completed my apprentiship I took a few months break and went driving for H J Taylors wholesale  greengrocers at Chatham.We had two rounds of Vyes supermarkets around the coast I delivered to one of them taking in Sittingbourne.Faversham,Canterbury,Sandwich,Dover,Eastley?Shepherdswell,Hythe,Dymchurch,New Romney,Ashford and Tenderden did this three times a week quite a busy day the other round did Thanet area a lot of Vyes about themdays.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiler on August 02, 2011, 19:29:27
 :)Forgot to answer your question I think Liptons took over a few. :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: grandarog on August 02, 2011, 19:33:39
When was that Smiler 50s/60s/ or even 70s cant remember when they dissapeared.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiler on August 02, 2011, 19:42:13
When was that Smiler 50s/60s/ or even 70s cant remember when they dissapeared.
Shoud have said it was in 65 :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Bryn Clinch on August 02, 2011, 19:43:39
Definitely in business in the 1950s. The manager was Mr. Thompson - I was at school with his son. I don`t think they were in business in the 60s but I could wrong.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Bryn Clinch on August 02, 2011, 19:47:15
Definitely in business in the 1950s. The manager was Mr. Thompson - I was at school with his son. I don`t think they were in business in the 60s but I could wrong.

It appears I`m wrong! Thanks, smiler!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Rochester-bred on August 02, 2011, 20:51:02
Not sure where but there was another post about Vvys as they had a shop on the corner of Crow lane and Rochester high street in the 60s/70s I remember my mum shopping there.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: LenP on August 02, 2011, 20:57:08
Martin Vye, Lib Dem county councillor for Canterbury south west is a descendent I believe.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Mike S on August 02, 2011, 20:57:41
Many a happy time spent playing with model railways in the lounge of the accomodation above the Rochester Vyes store. In the late 50's I was friendly with the Son of the then Manager of the store.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: doug on August 02, 2011, 22:38:01
Vyes and son started out in Ramsgate as tea and coffee importers, had shops all over Kent, also a massive warehouse/distrubution centre at Dumpton park Broadstairs. In the 1960s the yaught Thomas Lipton was built at Port Richborough for the Americas Cup, The Boat was a little bit to heavy and nearly pulled the cranes launching it in the river.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Megapack162 on August 11, 2011, 10:28:32
I have a vague recollection that the Spar shop (now a Premier Selection store) in Shirley Avenue on the Davis Estate in Chatham used to be a Vye's shop, probably late 60s / early 70s, can anyone with a Kelly's directory confirm this?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: birchingtonboy on August 11, 2011, 20:30:25
Yes I remember Vyes ,there was Vyes in birchington Sqare  next to PWD butchers  and just where the horse trough is. There trade mark wsa a ballon if I remember rightly.Mind you they had competition there was an "International" store across the road . 
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: kewtie on June 21, 2012, 19:34:44
Like smiler I too worked for H J Taylor. I started with them in 1965 and also delivered to the Vyes shops all over Kent with a little Bedford 30cwt truck. H J Taylor's had a contract to supply Vyes with pre-packed potatoes and tomatoes. I seem to remember all the staff were friendly which made the job quite enjoyable. I also remember when going into Sandwich I had to pay 2/6d toll charge.
Years later, when working for SPD Aylesford, I had to deliver to the main depot at Dumpton Park. By this time it was under  the Liptons flag.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Eliza Mellor on July 24, 2012, 22:48:21
Vye & Son Ltd was incorporated in 1952 to take over the business of Vye & Son then carried on by AJH and NGH Taylor.  The new company also took over various freehold and leasehold properties.  Vye's continued in Whitstable (at 56 High St) until about 1971/2 when I think it was sold to Allied Group and after this it may have traded on the same premises as Liptons, until about 1989 when the lease was sold to Mackay & Co (now M&CO).  Does anyone remember when the shop at 56 High St Whitstable stopped being Vye's and when it became Liptons?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: finny1959 on August 18, 2013, 17:49:13
I remember there being a Vye's in Minster (Thanet) until the early 1970's when it became Liptons. The original shop was in The Square, opposite the New Inn and I remember it having wooden floors and high, marble counters. I recall a manually operated meat slicer and a coffee bean roaster(?) The shop moved a few doors up into a new building in Monkton Road but I can't recall if it had become Liptons or not by then. I'll ask my mum (who still lives in Minster and worked at the village branch of Vye's as a young woman) if she can remember the approximate date
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 18, 2013, 23:19:28
I went to work for Vye's as a Grocery Apprentice in 1957.  The first shop I worked at was in Westbrook, Margate.  I later became a relief manager and went to shops at Wye, Newington, Paddock Wood etc.
The photograph is at the Westbrook Vye's, with myself in the middle and the manager, Mr. Christian on the right.
I have written a short account of those days which I will post as soon as I can find it.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 19, 2013, 07:52:54
Great pic RS.
It's nice to see shop interiors like that again when 'service ' was good for customers. The pic reminded me of the International Stores in Chatham, where I worked for a short time. I love the way those tins were all stacked on the shelves behind, it looks a bit scary though, as if a slight nudge would send them all crashing  :) There was probably a special knack to that though.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 19, 2013, 10:17:09
The first part of my account of work with Vye & Sons.  Quite a bit more to go.....

I left school at fifteen with no worries about what I was going to do as my mother had already made up my mind for me.  I was taken over to Ramsgate in my best suit for an interview at the head office of Vye and Son ‘The Kentish Grocers’.  As I remember it, I said very little, my mother answering most of the questions.
Before I knew what was happening I had signed up for a three-year apprenticeship and was being taken on a tour of the Ramsgate shop and warehouse.  I started at Vye & Son Ltd., 83 Canterbury Road, Westbrook on the following Monday for the impressive wage of 37/6d per week .
I must have looked quite funny as I was rather short for my age and the smallest white coat available hung on me like a tent.  To make matters worse, I could hardly see over the counter when I joined the firm!
Starting as an apprentice meant that I got all the jobs that no one else wanted to do, including sweeping up and making the tea.  Another job that I acquired straight away was making deliveries on the trade bike.   I would do any local deliveries, and any urgent orders that were needed before our weekly delivery van made its rounds.
Once a week I had to go to Thanet Technical College in High Street, Ramsgate where we had lessons in tea tasting, coffee roasting, and many more.  The unfortunate thing is that the courses given at Ramsgate were from a by-gone era.  It was fascinating to know what different types of coffee tasted like and how to roast them, but by that time our coffee-roasting machine was virtually unused, and most people were beginning to buy Maxwell House.
It was the same with tea.  We learnt all the different kinds of tea, how to mix them, but by that time all the tea arriving in the store was in packets of PG etc.  We did have Vyes packed teas, but these were packed at the Ramsgate Warehouse, and that didn’t last very long.  The only part of the tea-trade we received was in empty T-chests which were used to carry around stock on the delivery vans. 
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 19, 2013, 10:30:02
One of the shops I visited as a relief manager.  I always found these visits very enjoyable.  ;)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 19, 2013, 10:34:09
Great pic RS.
It's nice to see shop interiors like that again when 'service ' was good for customers. The pic reminded me of the International Stores in Chatham, where I worked for a short time. I love the way those tins were all stacked on the shelves behind , it looks a bit scary though , as if  a slight nudge would send them all crashing  :) There was probably a special knack to that though.

Yes, Lyn, it was quite a task, especially as they had to be taken down quite regularly for cleaning the shelf.  They did occasionally fall down, and in one case - well, I'll let you read about it in my account that I'm slowly posting.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 20, 2013, 17:20:40
Part two:

As people who know me will testify, I have always had rather unusual eating habits!  Perhaps this started back in my days as an apprentice for Vye & Son Ltd.  Certainly at that time I would eat almost anything - with the exception of a few 'fads' as my mother called them.  I hated custard, jelly and cream among other things - perhaps it was the way my mother made them!
Once out of the house at fifteen and just at the end of food rationing, I was suddenly surrounded by a bevy of food tastes and experiences.  I was as thin as a rake at fifteen but not for the want of trying.   I could easily convince myself of the justice of my eating spree - as a trainee provision hand I owed it to the customers to know the taste and quality of everything I was trying to sell.  It was the duty of a dedicated apprentice!
Perhaps it is surprising that the item I remember the most was a soft drink called Cremola Foam.
Just after the war there was very little choice in soft drinks.  Just orange or lemon squash.  The adults, of course, could drink Robinson's Barley Water or Lucozade, but no red-blooded child or youth would touch the stuff!  They were for sick or old people!
And tea?  OK, there was plenty of that, but at the start of my working life I hadn't acquired the taste.  (There was no instant coffee at that point and I hadn’t yet discovered the decadence of the 50’s coffee bar!)
Coca Cola had been around for a while in the original 'waisted' bottles, but we didn't sell it.
Then suddenly, in the middle of a particularly hot, orange squash-drenched summer, a new line came in called Cremola Foam.  This ‘concoction’ was a flavoured powder that came in a small tin and foamed up like mad when added to water to make a refreshing fizzy drink .  It might sound odd, but we loved it.  Suddenly, in Vye’s of Westbrook, this was virtually the only drink partaken by the staff during that summer.
As the lowest of the low, I usually had the task of preparing the drinks.  Being a somewhat mischievous individual at that time, I had a plan for a little bit of fun.   One fine day - for me - I opened the Cremola Foam tin and removed about half the contents.  Then I refilled with about the same amount of Andrew’s Liver Salts  and mixed generously!
At tea-break time I prepared everyone’s drinks, and made up my drink with the unadulterated version.
All the staff came in as usual in rotation, took their drinks and retired to lounge in the sun for their allotted ten minutes.  My bit of amusement came during the subsequent afternoon period as the Liver Salts took their effect and I happily totted up the increased number of visits to the loo!
Actually quite a few children used to make themselves ill by eating Cremola foam straight from the tin in its powder form.   It tasted a bit like sherbert when you did that, but the problem was that it would expand massively in the stomach and give symptoms just like appendicitis!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 20, 2013, 17:39:21
Oh, I remember Cremola Foam  :) and the liver salts !
Also I worked at a small village store at one time, and was the one who cut and packaged all the various cheeses and cooked meats. So of course I had to taste them  :) Had my own little area in the basement of the shop, managed to take home a good few bits of gammon which strangely came out the bacon slicer rather 'tatty' and couldn't be placed on the fridge shelf for customers ! I hated that bacon slicer, it attacked me more than once  :) but the odd shaped bits were well taken care of at home.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 20, 2013, 17:46:00
Oh, I remember Cremola Foam  :) and the liver salts !
Also I worked at a small village store at one time, and was the one who cut and packaged all the various cheeses and cooked meats. So of course I had to taste them  :) Had my own little area in the basement of the shop , managed to take home a good few  bits of gammon which strangely came out the bacon slicer rather 'tatty' and couldn't be placed on the fridge shelf for customers ! I hated that bacon slicer, it attacked me more than once  :) but the odd shaped bits were well taken care of at home.  :)
You might like to see this Lyn,
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 20, 2013, 17:52:03
 :) Those were the days. Fancy still having a tin !
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 21, 2013, 14:46:17
Part three.

Vye & Son of Westbrook was the classic fifties High Street grocers, and you would be hard pressed to find many differences between it and so many others, such as World Stores, David Griegs, Home & Colonial and International Stores.
Our shop was one of a locally large chain of Grocers shops with the head office at Queen Street, Ramsgate.  Our store in Westbrook was quite well placed because it was in the centre of an area full of guesthouses and small hotels and at that time the Margate tourist industry was booming.  So much so that there were two grocery stores almost side by side in Westbrook, ours and David Grieg two doors along.
The main part of the shop was covered with antique floor tiles, the counters, the grocery shelves and the accounts office were carved mahogany, and the provision shelves were thick polished marble.  At the end of the shop, on either side, and near the accounts office were a number of chairs for customers to use while waiting for their orders.
Sometimes, however, there was a special use for the chairs, when, what we affectionately called our ‘mad woman’ turned up.  She used to come in periodically carrying her bags and cases, and set up home at the end of the shop, arranging the chairs to suit herself, setting out her possessions, and completely ignoring us as she did so.  Fortunately, she didn’t stay too long each time.
We had two display windows, one for provisions and the other for grocery.  Inside the shop everything was mahogany and marble with lots of scrollwork and woodcarving.
On the right hand side of the shop as you went in was a polished mahogany grocery counter.  Just by the front end of the grocery counter, near the window, was a large gas powered coffee roasting machine.
Along the front was an angled shelf upon which were stood a long row of tins of biscuits.  These were metal tins and they had slip-on hinged glass lids.   There were all the favourite kinds; bourbon, rich tea, custard creams, iced gems, digestive, chocolate digestive, butter puffs, morning coffee, Nice etc.  It was often ‘self-service’ with these biscuits.  We would pass a paper bag to the customer and they would choose what they wanted and we would weigh the result.  Valued customers of course would take a seat while we came round the counter and made the selection for them.  All by hand of course.  No tongs or plastic gloves then!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: JohnWalker on August 21, 2013, 17:58:30
Looks like you might still be able to buy Creamola. I wonder if it's still like the original?


http://symingtons.com/our-brands/creamola/ (http://symingtons.com/our-brands/creamola/)

JW
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 21, 2013, 18:49:58
Looks like you might still be able to buy Creamola. I wonder if it's still like the original?


http://symingtons.com/our-brands/creamola/ (http://symingtons.com/our-brands/creamola/)

JW
No, that's quite different.  The Cremola was a fizzy drink, adding water which gave an effervescent effect.  The modern Creamola is a kind of pudding, like 'Instant Whip'
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 22, 2013, 11:57:48
Part four:

For the less well-off customers there were several boxes of broken biscuits, usually separated into plain, creams, and chocolate varieties.
Under the counter at the rear were a large number of deep wooden drawers.  These contained a big variety of cereals, pulses and dried fruit.  Those I remember include dried peas, split peas, lentils, sago, semolina, rice (several kinds; patna, pudding rice), currants, raisins, sultanas, prunes etc.  There were aluminium scoops in each drawe, which, as far as I can remember, were never washed.  The contents of the drawers were never emptied out and cleaned, with new stock being tipped in on top of the old.  Especially in the pea and lentil drawers we would find little creatures, which I suspect were some kind of weevil.
On the left hand side was the provisions counter that also had a mahogany base, but was topped with enormously thick slabs of polished marble and glass display cabinets.  The glass covered areas covered the bacon, cheeses, and cooked meat displays.  The cooked-meats were Ox-Tongue, corned beef, brawn, haslet , pork pie, veal, ham and egg pie, and of course luncheon meat.
At one end near the window was the cooked meat slicer, which was the only electrically driven machine in the shop except for the coffee grinder.  Down at the other end was the big red Berkel bacon slicer which was hand powered, driven by a large heavy flywheel which you rotated using a black Bakelite handle.
Cleaning and maintenance was carried out on the machine each day, the cleaning was using several muslin cloths, one wet, and the other oily, finally I would sharpen the blade with a built-in sharpener on the top of the machine, holding it down, then turning the blade until the process was complete.
In the centre of the shop against the back wall was a large and very ornate mahogany and glass office.  This was the home of the manager, Mr. Christian, and also where the cashier sat.  I remember being amazed to discover that Mr. Christian earned the impressive sum of £500 per year! 
We had our own tills on the counters for passing trade but the cashier would deal with account customers and take in orders for delivery.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 22, 2013, 13:30:12
RonStilwell, thank you for your memories, so vivid and well composed. Wonderfull reminiscences from a bygone time, I think most of us over fifty can identify with them.
We may have had a Vyes shop in Rochester, I can't recall, but we certainly had grocers that fitted your description. Home & Colonial, the one at the junction of Crow Lane and Rochester High Street?
Now, when I tell my young friends about "patting"the butter into shape and cutting the cheese by wire, I get some strange looks (more strange than usual) please can you confirm it`s not an old man`s dream. :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Mike S on August 22, 2013, 14:14:38
Signals99 - Vyes in Rochester was the shop on the corner of Crow Lane and Rochester High Street. In late 1950's I was friendly with the Managers son, and spent many hours in the lounge of the accomodation above the shop.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 22, 2013, 14:58:06
Signals99, I can confirm that cheese was once cut with wire, butter was patted into shape, and sugar weighed into bags. Lard was also weighed and patted into shape.  So......it's not an old mans dream!!  I have actually done it, but not in Vyes, but the `Maypole' in Sheerness, when I first left school.

I could tell a tale or two, but won't crash in on this thread. :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 22, 2013, 15:25:43
RonStilwell, thank you for your memories, so vivid and well composed. Wonderfull reminiscences from a bygone time, I think most of us over fifty can identify with them.
We may have had a Vyes shop in Rochester, I can't recall, but we certainly had grocers that fitted your description. Home & Colonial, the one at the junction of Crow Lane and Rochester High Street?
Now, when I tell my young friends about "patting"the butter into shape and cutting the cheese by wire, I get some strange looks (more strange than usual) please can you confirm it`s not an old man`s dream. :)
Don't worry, Signals99.  Patting the butter and cheeses will be in a later instalment.  I'm doing it in sections, hopefully one per day.  Lots more to come.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 22, 2013, 16:34:32
Hey ! What a grand lot you are! Thanks Mike S, had a suspicion that was Vyes. busyglen thank you, straight from the man who's seen it, done it, got the T shirt, that will show them.
Ron Stilwell, how about the coffee grinders, that lovely all pervading smell, will you introduce us to its secrets? The best times I recall about Christmas, the beautifully displayed goods, chocolates, plus my very own favourite the large breaded hams. :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 22, 2013, 18:38:05
busyglen thank you, straight from the man who's seen it, done it, got the T shirt, that will show them.
:)

Er.....actually if you are referring to me....I'm female!  :) :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 22, 2013, 21:31:18
Part five:

Customers on the grocery counter would usually come in with a list written into a small notebook.  This would be handed to us and we would go and get up the order while the customer sat down on one of the chairs provided for the purpose.  It was our job to make any extra sales we could, and for instance if any item had been missing off their list for a couple of weeks you would suggest it.  There were usually special offers to push, and of course at different times of the year there were seasonal specials.
Because we were in the holiday area we had a great variety of stock, right from the tiniest tins for single people up to the very biggest tins for hotels.  We also had a number of catering packs of soap powder etc for the holiday trade.
In my first six months or so a long list could be quite intimidating because of the totalling up of the prices.  It wasn’t at all easy to add up pounds, shillings and pence especially as I took a little while to get the knack of keeping the columns in a nice straight vertical line for easier addition.
I would do quite a lot of deliveries with the Trade Bike, but each week we would have a van come along from head office to do the big orders, especially to the large hotels and guest houses in the summer months.  Whenever I was needed, I would go out with the van to help take the orders in.  The driver was Sid Perks, and he was the Thanet driver for many years, right up until the final days of Vyes.
Because of the position we were in, we were well placed for trade because of the surrounding hotels and boarding houses, but that really only applied during the few short summer months.  The rest of the year it was very quiet, and so Mr Barnes brought along a stack of leaflets for distribution around Westbrook, especially south of the railway line.  That wasn’t too bad, if a bit boring, but then Mr Barnes decided upon another tactic, something called ‘cold knocking’.  I had to wander the streets of Westbrook knocking on door after door, trying to persuade the housewives to use Vye & Sons, offering free delivery of their groceries.  It most certainly wasn’t my kind of thing and I didn’t give it the best of my efforts, in fact after the first couple of times I gave it up altogether, even though they didn’t find out back at the shop that I wasn’t doing it!
There was very little real drama in Westbrook, and so it was quite exciting to discover that there had been a big fire in Rice & Sons builder’s yard beside the railway bridge in Hartsdown Road.  The morning after the fire the whole building had been destroyed, with just a shell left.  The steel roof girders had got so hot that they had bent into a bow-shape and sunk down into the wreckage of the warehouse.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 22, 2013, 22:39:36
Busyglen,
I apologise unreservedly for that, a genuine mistake. If we ever have the pleasure of meeting, that's a pint of drambuie shandy I owe you.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 10:36:17
Part six:

Quite soon a girl called Susan came to work at the shop.   She was an incredibly pretty girl and I was soon madly in love with her.  We had a pleasant and very innocent relationship working together at the shop, however one situation very nearly got us into serious trouble.  It was a quiet winter’s day and the shop was empty.  Only Susan and I were behind the counters and we were playing the fool.  I was on the provision counter and Susan was behind the grocery counter and we were throwing wet muslin cloths across the shop at each other.
Unfortunately Susan ducked when I threw mine and instead it hit a stack of jars of jam!  That stack fell and took out several other stacks as it went.  There was one almighty crash as the jars hit the floor and Mr Christian and the others came rushing out to see what had happened.  As far as I can remember we managed to talk our way out of it but I suspect that they knew it was not an accident.
Another notable breakage (which actually was an accident) involved a catering size gravy browning!  On the provision side we had the marble counter tops and then above those the wall was marble clad for ease of cleaning (which we rarely cleaned).
(see earlier posted picture)
On this wall were several ornate marble shelves with were decorated with stacks of tins.  Right up on the top shelf we would store the catering size tins and jars, as these would only be needed very occasionally.  One spring I was up on a stepladder cleaning the top shelf when I dropped a gallon jar of gravy browning.  Until you have done this you have absolutely no idea how difficult this is to clean up.
For months afterwards a brown stain would appear from the crevices in the counter top whenever we washed down!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: petermilly on August 23, 2013, 10:51:03
My grandfather worked in a grocers shop sometime around 1910. One of the jobs was to weigh out the dried peas into smaller bags, the weight had to be just right. He earned the nick name of 'split pea'  Another story he told was that when weighing out the raisins the boys had to continuously whistle.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 15:43:29
Part seven:
The first part about cheeses.  I accelerated this part a bit as it was requested.

One of my food passions today is cheese and I can trace this back to my days on the provision counter in Vyes.  There were so many varieties to taste and of course we were privileged enough to sample them in their best possible condition.   Cheese today very rarely goes on sale in a ripe or properly matured state and so most people have never had the opportunity to taste the real thing.
Cheddar came in large round shapes, which were extremely heavy.   A number of these cheeses would be kept in stock in the cellar where they would go through the last stages of their maturing process.  About once a fortnight the manager or the provisions manager would sample the cheese for quality.  This would involve using a cheese corer, which was a long tube of metal fixed into a handle with an open edge and a sharpened end. 
This was pushed down into the cheese, through the rind, and down until it reached approximately the centre.  When it was withdrawn it drew with it a long section of cheese about a half an inch in diameter.  The manager would taste a portion from the centre, and then replace the remainder of the core to stop air from entering the cheese.  Usually wax was dropped over the hole to make sure the seal was perfect.
This process would be continued over the weeks until the manager decided that the cheese was mature enough for sale.
When a cheese came up to the shop the first thing to be done was the removal of the waxed muslin covering that was used to wrap the cheese.  The cheese was then lifted up onto the cutting board, which was a marble slab that had a slit down the middle through which a metal cheese-wire ran.  The wire was lifted up over the cheese from the back and drawn down, slicing the cheese into two semi-circular 30 lb sections.
Of course, once the rind was cut through, air would get to the cheese and it would start to dry out.  To stop this happening before sale, various methods were employed.  If it was likely to be used fairly soon, (in the busy summer period for instance) the half-section was just placed face down on a marble work surface out in the store.
If we needed to keep it for longer we would seal the surface with a coating of butter or lard to keep out the air and cover the surface with greaseproof paper.  This would then be OK for several weeks. The half in use would then be cut several more times.  A second cut would be made dividing the half into two segments, and then one of those would be cut again into two.
This would result in approximately 8 lb triangular sections.  One of these would then be placed out on the counter for sale.  On busy days we would cut the whole thing up into approximately 1 lb wedges for quick sale, but on quieter days the cheese would be cut as needed.
The most called for piece was a square-shaped column that was cut from the point of the wedge with a knife.  This had to be removed first so that the wedges could be cut without ending up in a point.  As it had no rind this square section from the centre of the cheese was very popular.  Customers were always trying to persuade us to start a new triangle so that they could have this piece.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 15:49:07
A Cheese store and a 'cheese wire'
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 23, 2013, 16:05:36
Busyglen,
I apologise unreservedly for that, a genuine mistake. If we ever have the pleasure of meeting, that's a pint of drambuie shandy I owe you.

No worries!  It did make me laugh though.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 23, 2013, 16:14:28
I've read all your accounts so far RS, and have loved each one of them, the shops are just as I remember them from my childhood visits with my Mum, then later working in one or two myself. How I remember having to weigh and pack sugar, in the blue bag with a special way of turning the tops over, so it didn't leak or spill out.
By the time I was cutting cheeses in that small shop I mentioned in an earlier reply, the cheddar came wrapped in thick polythene, still weighed a ton though. It was approximately a rectangle of about 20 inches by 12 inches ( metric ???)
All of the cuts would by then have been more square. The actual cutting slab was still marble with the wire in the middle, and it was more  convenient in shape for customers. It was a small 'supermarket  in Borstal, and we had many families and people on their own, so it was cut to all sorts of sizes. Then all wrapped up in cling film and sealed on a very hot electric hot plate. This would have been the earlier 70s. I loved that job but do have a few scars from very sharp knives and that lethal looking bacon slicer.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 16:25:15
I've read all your accounts so far  RS , and have loved each one of them, the shops are just as I remember them from my childhood visits with my Mum , then later working in one or two myself. How I remember having to weigh and pack sugar , in the blue bag with a special way of turning the tops over, so it didn't leak or spill out.
By the time I was cutting cheeses in that small shop I mentioned in an earlier reply, the cheddar came wrapped in thick polythene, still weighed a ton though. It was approximately a rectangle of about 20 inches by 12 inches ( metric ???)
All of the cuts would by then have been  more square . The actual cutting slab was still marble with the wire in the middle, and it was more  convenient in shape for customers. It was a small 'supermarket' in Borstal , and we had many families and people on their own, so it cut to all sorts of sizes. Then all wrapped up in cling film and sealed on a very hot electric hot plate . This would have been the earlier 70s. I loved that job but do have a few scars from very sharp knives and that lethal looking bacon slicer.  :)
Thanks Lyn,
Yes, I was appalled to find out in later life that cheese was starting to come wrapped in polythene!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 23, 2013, 16:41:48
I have to say, when the cheddar was unwrapped it was VERY damp and more often than not, the outside of it was covered in green mould ( ugh ) which was easily scraped off.  It also did smell a bit high, but the cheese itself was very tasty.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Bryn Clinch on August 23, 2013, 17:19:48
I once worked in a building previously owned by the Co-op. In the attic we discovered a contraption which bore some resemblance to a mincer, but much larger. It could also have been an ancient coffee grinder. It turned out to be a raisin stoner which was later restored and placed in the Co-op Museum along with my Grandad`s mangle. At that time, late 90s, I believe the museum was in Dartford.
Did Vyes have one of these? At first I wasn`t convinced it was a raisin stoner as the raisins would pass straight through the machine with stone intact, but it was explained to me that raisins were much larger in those days.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 17:24:40
I once worked in a building previously owned by the Co-op. In the attic we discovered a contraption which bore some resemblance to a mincer, but much larger. It could also have been an ancient coffee grinder. It turned out to be a raisin stoner which was later restored and placed in the Co-op Museum along with my Grandad`s mangle. At that time, late 90s, I believe the museum was in Dartford.
Did Vyes have one of these? At first I wasn`t convinced it was a raisin stoner as the raisins would pass straight through the machine with stone intact, but it was explained to me that raisins were much larger in those days.
Well, we had coffee grinders of course.  Whether your item was anything to do with raisins, I have no idea without seeing it.  But bear in mind they don't have any real stone as such, being dried grapes.  I doubt whether the tiny seeds would need to be removed, but....
This is supposed to be one, but I'm not altogether convinced.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 23, 2013, 18:47:41
The job I hated with cheese was having to sit down in the cellar (which was dark and had spiders) and pull the muslin off the Cheshire cheese. It was horrible as it sweated a bit, and although I used a knife to peel it off, it got into my finger nails.  I'd forgotten about that until the mention of cheese.

I'm really enjoying reading your accounts, it's brought back loads of memories for me.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 23, 2013, 22:56:49
Busyglen, Ron  Stilwell,
What a fascinating story you two tell, I, like most people just never gave a thought to the complexities of a grocers trade.
Go in the shop, purchase your goods and away, I think that's how most of us shopped .
Remember my mother going to Vyes in Rochester(thanks Mike S)

One last request please explain to me how the coupon system worked ref ration books?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 23, 2013, 23:15:29
Busyglen,Ron  Stilwell,
What a fascinating story you two tell,I, like most people just never gave a thought to the complexities
Of a grocers trade.
Go in the shop, purchase your goods and away, I think that's how most of us shopped .
Remember my mother going to Vyes in Rochester(thanks Mike S)
One last request please explain to me how the coupon system worked ref ration books?

Basically, the shopkeeper either signed over the coupon making it invalid, or sometimes snipped it out.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 24, 2013, 12:52:18
Part eight:
Second part of the cheeses!

Apart from the marble cheese board there were also separate cheese wires.  These were lengths of piano wire with a short piece of dowel fixed to each end.
(One of these was clipped to the back of the cheese board and could be easily replaced in the event of breakage.) 
Customers would be quite fussy about the weight of the cheese cut and you soon learnt to estimate the size of a piece to within a half an ounce, otherwise you soon got left with lots of under or oversize bits that no-one wanted.  A surprisingly large number of people would ask for just 4 ounces of cheese and a few for a little as two ounces.
Even this soon after the war we had quite a number of varieties of cheese.  Apart from English cheddar and New Zealand Cheddar we sold Cheshire, Lancashire and Wensleydale, then there was a soft cheese called Caerphilly, and of course a few cheeses from Europe - Danish Blue, Edam, Gouda, Emmenthal, and Gorgonzola.  For the real connoisseur there was Stilton cheese although we rarely stocked that except at Christmas.  My personal favourite was Gorgonzola - and the riper the better!  The only one I could never really enjoy was Edam, which to me seemed just like rubber (and after we’d had it for a while it certainly was!)
There was one layover from wartime austerity.  This was a processed cheese that was reasonably soft and came in large rectangular blocks.  I found it quite pleasant with a good taste and quite a creamy texture.  It seemed odd though - cheeses should come round and with rind.  If we’d only known though - soon even cheddar would arrive in square cardboard boxes - without rind and minus a lot of flavour!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 24, 2013, 15:19:39
Having read all of your accounts about cheeses, and being reminded of my own experiences, I have suddenly realised why I don't like cheese!!  The only time I will eat cheese these days is toasted cheddar on toast!  Shame really. :(
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: JohnWalker on August 24, 2013, 15:48:37
Was there a Vyes in Canterbury? - trying to think why the name is so familiar to me.

JW
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 24, 2013, 19:56:57
Part nine:

The cheese wires came in useful when blocks of lard had to be weighed up into half-pound measures.  This was always a messy business especially on a hot day, although the task was made much easier with the use of a cheese wire.
Lard was delivered in large blocks packed in cardboard boxes and protected by greaseproof paper.  This block was emptied out onto a marble counter and then the cheese wire was used to slice a two-inch slab off the top.  This was lifted off and then cut into strips with a knife; finally the strips were divided into roughly half-pound lumps.
Each one was picked up with a piece of greaseproof paper and placed on the scales and finally bits were added or removed to achieve the exact half-pound weight.  It was then wrapped in the greaseproof paper in a similar manner to wrapping a Christmas parcel.
The lard weighing used to occur sometimes when there was a strike.
Strikes made a big difference to our working lives, mostly meaning lots more work.  The Tate and Lyle sugar strike meant that sugar arrived from other suppliers, not in packets but in enormous two and a half hundredweight sacks.  This also had to be weighed up, in this case putting two pounds into brown paper bags.
We had to unload the sacks of sugar from the delivery lorry and transport them into the shop warehouse using a sack barrow.  Quite a job for someone who only weighed about seven stone!
A further problem was that our sack barrow had no supports at the handle end and disaster struck when I tried to get the first sack up the kerb.  I couldn’t hold the weight and the barrow rolled over backwards trapping my fingers under the handles.  I still carry the scar!

As for a Vye's Canterbury.  I don't remember one, but there may well have been.  Perhaps someone could check a Canterbury Kellys.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 24, 2013, 21:32:33
Thanks to Ron Stilwell for some very interesting posts :)

My recollection of buying sugar loose, not necessarily at Vye's, was of it always being put into stiff  blue paper bags, which were then folded over in some way almost as securely as the pre-packed bags that we buy today. Or is my memory playing tricks?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 24, 2013, 21:34:35
Thanks to Ron Stilwell for some very interesting posts :)

My recollection of buying sugar loose, not necessarily at Vye's, was of it always being put into stiff  blue paper bags which were then folded over in some way almost as securely as the pre-packed bags that we buy today. Or is my memory playing tricks?

Yes, that's correct.  My folding was not up to scratch, but that's the way it SHOULD have been.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 24, 2013, 21:40:28
So were they bags specially made for sugar? So far as I remember, they were plain and about royal blue in colour.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 24, 2013, 21:45:39
Yes, the bags were plain dark blue, they were made of quite thick paper.   I was shown how to fold them when I worked at the International Stores in Chatham.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 24, 2013, 22:52:43
Remember the blue paper. 'Bags' at Rochester Vyes, in fact they weren't bags but sheets of blue paper folded into cornet shaped cones and the top was folded over and tucked in.
They had biscuit tins stacked along the front of the counter at the back, they had glass/plastic
hinged lids. Mum only bought broken biscuits (they were cheaper). :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 25, 2013, 14:35:19
Our blue bags that we used during the sugar strike were actual 'bags', about the same shape as the normal Tate and Lyle bags, but plain blue.

Part ten:

Most of my worries came from the sale of bacon.  It was delivered in 'sides' which are basically half-a-pig (less head and trotters and sliced in half down the middle of the back) and having gone through the curing process.
The bacon order would arrive on the van with all the other deliveries, usually just thrown in on top of all the other items, sometimes even on top of cases of soap-powder!
Keeping the bacon fresh until needed was a bit of a problem, as of course in those days there was very little refrigeration available and we certainly didn't have any.  The bacon sides were taken down into the cellar where we had a large, walk-in fly-safe.  It was fairly cool down there in the summer but the fly-safe wasn't very efficient at keeping flies out!
The sides were dispatched in an all-covering muslin bag, and this was designed to keep out the bluebottles, but in transit the bag would get torn, or when hung in the fly-safe the hook used would make a hole through which the flies could get in to lay their eggs.  The fly-safe was supposed to keep them out, but in practice they always found a way in.
Once a week (usually on a Monday) I would have the job of cleaning up the sides, which had been attacked by 'blow-fly'.  This involved washing out the maggots, which usually congregated around the ball-joint of the large bone in the gammon (hind quarters) or in the hock (front leg).
Once I had washed them out it was usually necessary to trim away a bit of the affected flesh.  The side was then dried and some pea-flour dusted over it to restore the appearance.
Unsmoked, or 'green' bacon was the worst affected by flies, but the smoked bacon sides also brought problems.  It would keep longer but tended to dry out and the rind would lose its lovely fresh red-brown colour and often become covered by a fine white coating of salt crystals.  To restore a fresher appearance we would wipe a vegetable oil over the bacon rind.  This was on hand as it was the oil used to lubricate the bacon-slicing machine!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: JohnWalker on August 25, 2013, 14:47:26
Yuk!  I'm so glad I'm almost 100% vegetarian  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 25, 2013, 15:17:40
Yuk!  I'm so glad I'm almost 100% vegetarian  :)
LOL, I thought that passage might bring some comments.  Don't worry, it gets worse!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 25, 2013, 16:25:59
Yes, the bags were plain dark blue, they were made of quite thick paper.   I was shown how to fold them when I worked at the International Stores in Chatham.

Likewise Lyn L.  I could weigh them up, but my hands were not strong enough to fold them! :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 25, 2013, 16:34:31
Yuk!  I'm so glad I'm almost 100% vegetarian  :)
LOL, I thought that passage might bring some comments.  Don't worry, it gets worse!

I'm so tempted to butt in, but I won't spoil your tales Ron Stilwell, they are so interesting, and have reminded me so much of my similar job.  I may post something later of my time at the Maypole for comparison.  I'm really enjoying this, especially as it is so typical of those times.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 25, 2013, 16:50:15
Here you are BusyGlen.  As it's a bank holiday weekend a bit more.

Part eleven:

Except in the height of the summer we were never a busy shop, and so some of the stock would hang around for quite a time.  I would bring up a new side of bacon from the cellar and begin to bone it out and cut it up.  The first thing to be done was to remove the rib bones.  This was done with a small sharp boning knife and a loop of string.  I would score down the side of each rib bone with the knife and when that was completed I would make a little cut underneath each rib at its narrowest end.  This was where the piece of string came in.  The loop was slid under the end of each rib-bone and then pulled sharply back towards the end where it connected to the backbone.  This very efficiently removed the rib-bones with the very minimum of meat attached and so cut down on waste.
Once all the rib-bones had been loosened in this manner the knife would come out again to trim away the bones that remained of the backbone.  It was now time to cut up the boned side of bacon.  I would first cut off the gammon and put that to one side.  Then I would slice off the fore-end and cut that into two.  This gave us the ‘hock’ and the ‘collar’.
The remainder was then cut down the middle and became the ‘back’ and the ‘streaky’.
I was now ready to cut piles of rashers for display on the counter.  This would usually be of three kinds: back, collar and streaky.  Each type had its own price and popularity.  The best was considered to be the long back, then back and collar, then finally streaky.
However there was a great variety in each of these, even on the same side of bacon.  For instance, the back is composed of long back, oyster, back and rib back.
The most popular was the long back, which was also the most expensive, but nobody wanted the oyster because it contained quite a bit of gristle.  Of course, we had to get rid of it all and so we would 'hide' an odd oyster rasher in amongst the back or the long back.  Some shops would reduce the price to get rid of it but we would always try to get as much as we could by subterfuge.
The Gammon and Hock, and to some extent the Collar were kept for sale as bacon joints.  It was not common to sell gammon as slices the way it is done today.  Another really noticeable difference is the reduction in the amount of fat on a side of bacon.
Sometimes back in the fifties a side of bacon would have such a thick layer of fat that it was virtually unsaleable, and customers would always be asking us if we had anything better ‘under the counter’ or ‘out the back’.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 25, 2013, 21:51:55
Hi Ron Stilwell,
Reading your fascinating stories of the grocery trade "from the inside"whilst reading the bacon blog
A question occurred to me (they do that sometimes) :).Why is a slice of bacon called a rasher?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 25, 2013, 22:01:37
Hi Ron Stilwell,
Reading your fascinating stories of the grocery trade "from the inside"whilst reading the bacon blog
A question occurred to me (they do that sometimes) :).Why is a slice of bacon called a rasher?
I seem to remember it's all about the thin slices that can cut with a razor.  But all the origins of words are perhaps a little doubtful.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 26, 2013, 11:44:28
Part twelve:

Todays posting.  I would very much like to see a photograph of the ham boiler and the aluminium clamps again.  I can remember them well but I can't draw well enough to give a good representation.

One regular and quite enjoyable task was the boiling of the gammons to produce ham for shop sale.  This was done in a large gas fired water boiler.  It was large enough to take six gammons, each of them pressed into a heavy aluminium clamp.
These clamps or ‘bombs’ squeezed the gammons into a ham-like shape that it retained after cooking.  The gammons were boned and tied, put into the ‘bombs’, the heavy sprung lids clamped down, then each filled ‘bomb’ was placed into the boiler.
water was then poured in until all was covered, then the boiler lid was closed and the gas was lit.
The gammons were left overnight and the gas turned off in the morning.  Usually the cooked hams were left to cool down a bit, but occasionally we would have to get them out rather too quickly if one was needed urgently in the shop.  Too soon though, and the ham would fall apart on the slicing machine.
One advantage with opening the boiler up hot was that the rind would come off easier.  This removal of skin could be quite difficult if the hams were left to cool down.  Also, if the boiler had been allowed to cool down too much there would be a thick layer of congealed fat on top of the water.
Boning the gammons could be an unpleasant process in the winter because the meat would be so cold.  First you would have to find the point at which the knucklebone connected with the main gammon bone, and this was mainly done by touch.  If you got this right a sharp knife inserted here would very quickly separate the gammon knuckle and you could begin to tunnel inside the gammon with your knife to complete the boning process.
To economise on the amount of meat lost by being left on the bone it was common to use your fingers inside the gammon gently easing it free.  It was at this point that your fingers could get really cold especially if you had to bone out a number of sides.
This was worse at Christmas when we would have orders for dozens of gammon joints and were boiling hams almost continually.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 26, 2013, 15:12:31
I'm glad you mentioned the "Oyster".  The first time I had to remove the oyster bone, I made a mess of it!  I didn't realise (although it had been explained) that it was flat one end and widened a bit at the other.  I dug in too deep because I thought I hadn't gone deep enough and left a big hole!!  My boss was none too pleased!!  Bearing in mind that I was 15 at the time and it was my first job!

Your tales have brought back so many things I had forgotten......thanks.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 26, 2013, 20:32:22
I'm glad you mentioned the "Oyster".  The first time I had to remove the oyster bone, I made a mess of it!  I didn't realise (although it had been explained) that it was flat one end and widened a bit at the other.  I dug in too deep because I thought I hadn't gone deep enough and left a big hole!!  My boss was none too pleased!!  Bearing in mind that I was 15 at the time and it was my first job!

Your tales have brought back so many things I had forgotten......thanks.  :)

What's next, one asks oneself?  busyglen, what part of a provision assistant's work might be next?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 27, 2013, 08:16:52
I know that pork is pig meat, just as beef is cattle meat, and lamb and mutton is sheep meat. But what is it that makes pork into ham and bacon?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 11:08:55
I know that pork is pig meat, just as beef is cattle meat, and lamb and mutton is sheep meat. But what is it that makes pork into ham and bacon?
There are two processes involved.  As I'm sure you know, eating pork that hasn't been cooked properly is very dangerous, almost as bad as chicken.  Beef and lamb can be eaten almost raw.  Many of us eat our red meat 'rare' or 'blue'.  You can't get away with this with pork.  As it was quite a common animal around towns and villages (the pig is an omnivore, and will eat most things, instead of just grass), and there weren't any fridges to keep such a large animal after it was killed, the meat was 'cured'.  This allows you to keep the meat for many months, and in the old farmhouses, etc, all through the winter.  Basically this involved hanging the meat up and rubbing salt into the meat.  This is where the term 'flitch' came from - a side of cured meat hanging in the great big fireplace of farmhouses.  There was also a cure that involved immersing the meat into a vat of brine, then letting the brine soak in.  Most of todays bacon in supermarkets is prepared in this way, but the problem there is that the brine is now forced in under pressure, and more water stays in the meat.
Then of course there is the green, or unsmoked bacon, and the smoked bacon.  As you can see from the name, in the smoked bacon has been smoked, in a similar way to that used for all sorts of meat and fish.

The green bacon was kept in cellars in the fly-safes in the shops along with the smoked bacon.  Unfortunately the green bacon got 'slimy' quite quickly, and attracted flies, if they could get into the safe.  The smoked bacon wasn't prone to going slimy, or attracting the flies quite as much, but the salt would come out of the meat and crystallise on the rind.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 27, 2013, 12:50:20
I'm glad that you mentioned bacon flitches RS, I did wonder why they were called that. I have a copy of my ancestors will  dated 1624. He was a yeoman farmer in Hampshire . The will makes you wonder ! He left 14 'flitchers' of bacon and the cost which is by the side was  £5 , which seems an awful lot of money . I love this interesting bit of information  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 13:08:36
I'm glad that you mentioned bacon flitches RS, I did wonder why they were called that. I have a copy of my ancestors will  dated 1624. He was a yeoman farmer in Hampshire . The will makes you wonder ! He left 14 'flitchers' of bacon and the cost which is by the side was  £5 , which seems an awful lot of money . I love this interesting bit of information  :)

Talking about 'flitches' and farmhouses, in my youth I used to go in the summer to a farm just to the south of Ashford.  One might say I went to help out, but the truth is I was going out with the farmer's daughter!
The farmhouse was quite large and virtually the whole of the downstairs floor was one large room.  Almost like the old Saxon lodges (Well it was Kent!).  There was a massive inglenook fireplace at one end with a range, and there were meats hanging there.  The room was always hot because the range was going the whole time because that was the only oven they had.  On the top of the range was a great big saucepan, bubbling away all the time.  The farmers wife would just throw vegetables and meat of various kinds into the pot and keep it going all the time for the farm workers.  They worked from very early to very late in the summer.  It was not a bad stew, except the vegetables were a uniform 'battle-ship' grey!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Barrowboy on August 27, 2013, 14:37:04
I hope I'm not going off too much at a tangent, but reading your contributions about curing pork reminded me of another meat preserving technique that is seldom used today; salting beef. I know corned beef is still widely used but I have in mind immersing beef joints in brine. When I was a lad at school in the early 1960's to earn a few bob I had a Saturday job in the local Co op butchers. During the week customers would select a cut of brisket or silverside and ask for it to be salted. The butcher would then insert a number of wooden skewers in the joint and throw it in the brine tub, which was kept in the cold room. A note of the number of skewers used for that particular joint would be written on a raffle ticket which was given to the customer. My pet hate was retrieving the joints from the ice cold brine, feeling for the appropriate number of skewers, before presenting it to the customer.

That's what I like about KHF, it takes us all back through our own personal memory lane.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 27, 2013, 16:07:31
Many thanks to Ron Stilwell for the explanation of bacon in particular, and his interesting posts in general :)

But I’m still not sure what is the difference between bacon and ham.

All ham except, so far as I know, Parma Ham – which has fat, like bacon – is smooth with no separate fat. A quick glance at Sainsbury’s website lists, among others:
Honey roast ham, cured ham (so there is presumably uncured ham), air dried ham, cooked ham (so there is presumably uncooked ham), and turkey ham (I thought ham only came from pigs). There is also ‘regional’ ham, such as Wiltshire ham and Yorkshire ham, presumably produced using different techniques.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 16:20:42
Many thanks to Ron Stilwell for the explanation of bacon in particular, and his interesting posts in general :)

But I’m still not sure what is the difference between bacon and ham.

All ham except, so far as I know, Parma Ham – which has fat, like bacon – is smooth with no separate fat. A quick glance at Sainsbury’s website lists, among others:
Honey roast ham, cured ham (so there is presumably uncured ham), air dried ham, cooked ham (so there is presumably uncooked ham), and turkey ham (I thought ham only came from pigs). There is also ‘regional’ ham, such as Wiltshire ham and Yorkshire ham, presumably produced using different techniques.
Yes, it is all about different techniques,  As many ways of curing as there are grains of sand, well, quite a few anyway!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 16:23:33
I hope I'm not going off too much at a tangent, but reading your contributions about curing pork reminded me of another meat preserving technique that is seldom used today; salting beef. I know corned beef is still widely used but I have in mind immersing beef joints in brine. When I was a lad at school in the early 1960's to earn a few bob I had a Saturday job in the local Co op butchers. During the week customers would select a cut of brisket or silverside and ask for it to be salted. The butcher would then insert a number of wooden skewers in the joint and throw it in the brine tub, which was kept in the cold room. A note of the number of skewers used for that particular joint would be written on a raffle ticket which was given to the customer. My pet hate was retrieving the joints from the ice cold brine, feeling for the appropriate number of skewers, before presenting it to the customer.

That's what I like about KHF, it takes us all back through our own personal memory lane.
Very interesting.  I think that many of these techniques were developed for preserving meat for long sea voyages.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 16:48:46
Part fourteen minus one :)

This was the era of the ‘Little Lion’ emblem of the British Egg Marketing Board.  This was supposed to denote the quality of the product, but unfortunately it didn’t mean a lot.  Eggs would be delivered in big cardboard egg boxes that held 240 eggs.
They were on papier-mache egg trays each of which held two dozen eggs.  While this wasn’t a problem in the summer, 240 eggs took quite a while to sell in the winter.
This could mean that eggs might be in stock for weeks before they were sold.  We had a couple of ways of checking the condition of the eggs.  One of these was candling.  This involved placing the eggs on a perforated metal rack with a light underneath.  With the light shining through the egg, bad ones could easily be seen and thrown out.  Another way was to put the eggs into a bowl of water.  Any bad eggs would float.
One thing to remember was that there were definite limits to the type of thing that we would stock.  Grocer and Provision Merchants was the official title and one thing we certainly were not was a greengrocer – at that time it was not the done thing to mix the trades.  About the only item in that line that we would stock would be tomatoes.  But even then it would only be at certain times of the year when Jersey tomatoes were in season.  They would come in flimsy wooden trays each holding about 20 lbs of tomatoes and the top row of tomatoes would all be individually wrapped in thin green tissue paper.
At Christmas we would stock a few other fruits such as Fyffes bananas and Jaffa oranges.  Jaffas always came wrapped in highly decorated tissue paper.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiler on August 27, 2013, 17:49:27
All very interesting Ron Stilwell and I "thank you". So are you saying when we see rashers of bacon that are going green that this is normal, as I've always thought they were going off.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 27, 2013, 18:26:50
What's next, one asks oneself?  busyglen, what part of a provision assistant's work might be next?

I replied to this earlier, but when I posted it the site dropped and I couldn't get back in!  I should have saved it in Word!!

I mentioned that your posts have reminded me of so many things, but as I was in this job 58 years ago, I'm having a job to remember it all.  :(  I was only in this job for a year, and then went in to a job as an assistant in a Decorators Merchants shop, which I loved, for 11 years.....but I digress. :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 18:35:26
All very interesting Ron Stilwell and I "thank you". So are you saying when we see rashers of bacon that are going green that this is normal, as I've always thought they were going off.  :)
Very amusing Smiler.  The 'Green' description was because the un-smoked bacon had a pale green appearance in comparison with the brown colour of the 'Smoked', and nothing to do with mould.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: ann on August 27, 2013, 18:55:51
Am so enjoying this thread, thanks Ron Stilwell.  Your latest explantation of the term 'green' bacon reminded me of my dear old mum and how she would ask for 'green back bacon'.  I guess this is what she would have meant, unsmoked. 
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 27, 2013, 19:26:36
Am so enjoying this thread, thanks Ron Stilwell.  Your latest explantation of the term 'green' bacon reminded me of my dear old mum and how she would ask for 'green back bacon'.  I guess this is what she would have meant, unsmoked.
Yes, absolutely.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 27, 2013, 23:45:49
Ron ,
Can you recall roughly about what time sliced meats began to appear in grocers shops?
My pal who is eighty one says, apart from corned beef, it wasn't until the early fifties we began to get pre packed sliced meats in shops.
PS what process is involved in ' Corning ' beef. I just love this thread, thanks Ron Stilwell for all your hard work.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 00:01:26
Ron ,
Can you recall roughly about what time sliced meats began to appear in grocers shops?
My pal who is eighty one says ,apart from corned beef,it wasn't until the early fifties we began to get pre packed sliced meats in shops.
PS what process is involved in ' Corning 'beef .i just love this thread  thanks Ron Stilwell for all your hard work .
It is my recollection that the start of pre-packed sliced meat roughly coincided with the first super-markets (a time I mourn).  They wanted something that the customer could easily pick up, and quickly move on to the next choice.  Saved on the shop assistants too.
I think that would be about 1960 or so, at least it was in Westbrook.
Corned beef?  Well, that was another thing to do with preservation.  Keeping the meat for as long as possible.  The Navy used to use it.  It's usually brisket that is salted.  The 'corn' are the crystals of salt.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 28, 2013, 06:48:34
Ron,
Absolutely fascinating, now, one more question and I promise not to bother you any more :)
Did you ever work in a supermarket. If so, can you answer a question that really bugs me?
Why, oh why do they keep moving things about ???? I just get used to where things are and, lo and behold, it's all moved, it really confuses us oldies.
I asked in Sainsburys once, the answer was a condescending look and " if Sir has a problem I can get someone to assist you". Oh for the days of a friendly shop assistant, plus white apron and a "good morning sir, can I help you". Alas, gone with Vyes, Home and Colonial, Maypole and David Griegs,
Ah well! time moves on so must we. :)




Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiler on August 28, 2013, 07:38:41
Signals when I asked this question I was told its to get the customer to see and hope they will buy other things. If you know where everything you wish to purchase is, the chances are, that's all you'll take to the check out.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 28, 2013, 08:09:41
If you know where everything you wish to purchase is the chances are that's all you'll take to the check out.
On the other hand, if you can't find what you want easily, the chances are that you won't bother unless it's something essential. It's similar with another infuriating habit - changing the packaging, so that you don't recognise the product you are looking for. Then there's the practice of putting items on display separately, so that having made a selection from, say, the biscuits shelves you find more of them in a separate rack some distance away, usually half-blocking a gangway.

Regarding corned beef, is that the same as 'bully beef' so familiar to soldiers?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 11:16:49
Regarding corned beef, is that the same as 'bully beef' so familiar to soldiers?

Yes, it certainly is.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 28, 2013, 11:23:56
Bully beef.
Hi, I actually liked bully beef, mostly came in the five man "combo" packs in my service days - there were breakfast packs; luncheon packs; plus one other I can't recall. Each box (pack) could be identified by a playing card symbol -ace of spades was a main meal pack etc.
I was told it got the name 'bully' after the guy who introduced it to the British Army, a General Sir Redvers Buller, but I have a feeling I will know the full story very soon, knowing my learned friends on the KHF?

Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 11:31:24
Ron,
Absolutely fascinating, now, one more question and I promise not to bother you any more :)
Did you ever work in a supermarket. If so, can you answer a question that really bugs me?
Why, oh why do they keep moving things about ???? I just get used to where things are and, lo and behold, it's all moved, it really confuses us oldies.
I asked in Sainsburys once, the answer was a condescending look and " if Sir has a problem I can get someone to assist you". Oh for the days of a friendly shop assistant, plus white apron and a "good morning sir, can I help you". Alas, gone with Vyes, Home and Colonial, Maypole and David Griegs,
Ah well! time moves on so must we. :)
I did do a short spell in a Vyes that had been converted to a small supermarket, in Paddock Wood.  It was what decided me to go into another field of work!  After all, it was my mother who decided I was to become a shop assistant.
As for moving the stock around, this is where 1984 and Big Brother come into play (Not the TV thing!).  Those cameras all around the stores are not there just to pick up shop-lifters.  They are there to observe your shopping habits.  The direction you go around the store is carefully monitored to make sure the majority of customers use as many aisles as possible to insure you impulse buy as much as possible.  The changes are made as necessary.  Special 'Offers' are moved around to attract your attention to various areas.  A careful note is made of the seasons and all other outside factors that influence your buying habits, and then the items are moved around to suit.  As I said, all to make sure you see as much as possible in your tour around the shop.  They don't care if a few people give up and rush to the checkout - they are after the bigger picture, which they get from watching the way the rats use the maze!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 28, 2013, 11:45:04
Ron
It's been an education reading your blogs, as promised I won't bother you any more.
Thanks, one of the rats  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 11:46:22
Part fourteen:

The 1953 storm had affected the shop quite badly, completely flooding the cellar.  Although I wasn’t there myself at that time it was quite graphically described to me by Mr. Christian, the manager.  Arriving at the shop to find the cellar many feet deep in water, he quickly mobilized all the staff - not to rescue stock, but to start throwing it into the water!
Always ready to take advantage of a situation, he quickly realised that here was a golden opportunity to get some credit for damaged stock.  Any item in dubious condition, such as poor quality bacon was thrown in.  They took collapsed boxes of items such as soap powder, re-assembled them, put a few packs of soap powder inside them and threw them in as well.
All sorts of items went into the floodwater, with the idea that when the shop inspector arrived to assess the damage he would count the floating items and write out a credit note.
By all accounts the subterfuge worked.  When the inspector arrived that morning the water was beginning to smell, the lights were off and there was very little chance of him going very far down the cellar steps in his posh suit for a close examination.  Mr Christian and his assistants were down at water level, fishing around with the shop awning pole, calling out items for the inspector to write down.
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.  He would write out a credit note listing 'blown' tins, rotten tomatoes, broken eggs, mouldy cheese and smelly bacon.
Once the District Manager had gone, we would retrieve much of it from the dustbins, and store it in a box in the cold-room down in the cellar, ready to be brought out for credit again the following week.
That is not to say that we threw much away if we could help it.  The District Manager would ‘mark down’ lots of damaged stock to be sold at reduced prices.  That included dented tins, broken biscuits, and soft or bruised fruit and vegetables.  Our finest Jersey tomatoes became ‘cooking tomatoes’ once they had become a bit squashy, and would only be put out to be written-off if they were completely inedible.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 11:47:03
Ron
It's been an education reading your blogs,as promised I won't bother you any more.
Thanks,one of the rats  :)
Please bother as much as you like.  It's fun.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 28, 2013, 15:12:16
What despicable goings on back then  :) :) Understand that completely. I love all your accounts RS.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: peterchall on August 28, 2013, 16:26:21
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.
Were there any general guidelines as to when a type of food, as opposed to individual items, became unsaleable – for example, cheese not to be sold after x days – or was it left entirely to the manager (or customers refusing to buy, for that matter)? I can’t help feeling that the present system of dating food leads to a lot of waste because somewhere along the line someone who ‘knows’ has decided that a certain food can safely be kept for a month, then that is halved to be safe, and so on. I don’t throw anything away that is less than a week past its ‘use-by’ date (unless one of my daughters discovers it!)

How much discretion did the local manager have in setting prices? If he found a nearby competitor was selling something cheaper, was he allowed to adjust his prices accordingly?
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 28, 2013, 17:13:30
The mention of knowing where to look for items in the supermarket, reminded me of my trek around a local one this week.  I know mostly where things are (even if they change them around sometimes just to fool us)  but I happened to look up in one of the aisles and catch sight of POLISH. I knew I wanted furniture polish, so I walked up the aisle looking from left to right and could not see it.  I thought it was a bit odd as most of the items were of the food variety, not cleaning.  I went down towards where I suspected it would be and asked a staff member and she directed me.  I said that I couldn't see why they had decided to put it in a food aisle, and then changed there mind, but left the sign up.  When I explained, she laughed and said that's not Polish as in furniture polish......it's POLISH as in the Polish people!!  That told me! :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 17:15:42
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.
Were there any general guidelines as to when a type of food, as opposed to individual items, became unsaleable – for example, cheese not to be sold after x days – or was it left entirely to the manager (or customers refusing to buy, for that matter)? I can’t help feeling that the present system of dating food leads to a lot of waste because somewhere along the line someone who ‘knows’ has decided that a certain food can safely be kept for a month, then that is halved to be safe, and so on. I don’t throw anything away that is less than a week past its ‘use-by’ date (unless one of my daughters discovers it!)

How much discretion did the local manager have in setting prices? If he found a nearby competitor was selling something cheaper, was he allowed to adjust his prices accordingly?
Basically that would be up to the provision manager.  With cheese, it would certainly never be in the fridge, and in my opinion always tastes much better having not been refrigerated. With Cheddar and other cheeses of that type, the only thing to worry about was that it would go dry.  That was why unused pieces would get covered in greaseproof paper until needed.  With cheeses such as gorgonzola, they improved with age, getting really tasty as time went on.  Cooked meat was a problem of course.  That had to be watched, but generally 'drying out' would be the greatest danger, after cutting.  Usually we would slice enough for the time of day and the rest would be in the fridge.  Eggs lasted a very long time.  We would test them if sales were slow.  There was a vast amount of difference in the seasons, once the tourist season was gone, things would have to last much longer, and things, especially bacon.  Things like bacon knuckles would pile up in the winter.
As for prices, that would be up to the District Manager to set levels. 
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Lyn L on August 28, 2013, 17:58:38
Busyglen... we use our local Asda, I think that the only 'thing' that doesn't get moved is the Polish stuff  :) it's always in exactly the same place even if nigh on everything else has shifted. I must admit it drives me barmy when they have a reshuffle, I know what I want and think these days with money being tight, most people think the same way. I quite understand the reasoning obviously, but they do it so often. Just remembered, another thing that doesn't seem to change places is shoe polish  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 28, 2013, 18:50:58
Ron Stilwell,  a thought sprung into my mind (apologies if you mentioned it and I've missed it) but we used to put all the meat products in the shop window, which was marble (if I remember correctly) and this was lit by slightly coloured lights which made the meat look pinker. This meant that any sliced, bacon, ham, spam etc. where it was drying out, wouldn't be noticed.  I can remember the manager occasionally taking a few slices off the top of some spam (luncheon meat) and putting it further down.   Or, using the piece of paper to pick some slices up, he would put the top piece on the bottom so that it wouldn't be noticed until the customer was home!!

 
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 19:13:31
Ron Stilwell,  a thought sprung into my mind (apologies if you mentioned it and I've missed it) but we used to put all the meat products in the shop window, which was marble (if I remember correctly) and this was lit by slightly coloured lights which made the meat look pinker. This meant that any sliced, bacon, ham, spam etc. where it was drying out, wouldn't be noticed.  I can remember the manager occasionally taking a few slices off the top of some spam (luncheon meat) and putting it further down.   Or, using the piece of paper to pick some slices up, he would put the top piece on the bottom so that it wouldn't be noticed until the customer was home!!
Yes, you're absolutely right in all of that.  In addition there were dividers with plastic green leaves that went in between the meat to make it look more rustic.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 28, 2013, 19:54:01
Yes you are right, we also had green leaves separating some of the various meats.

We didn't actually have meat.....only bacon.  The sides were delivered sewn into sacking by the railway company.  Smoked in one and green in the other.  I had to fold all the sacking up and tie it ready for collection at the next delivery.

I hated the large sort of tins that the corned beef came in.  Large at one end and smaller at the other.  I had to open them with a large fixed can opener, and managed to slice my wrist on one of them.  I still have a faint scar after all these years.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 28, 2013, 20:03:58
Yes you are right, we also had green leaves separating some of the various meats.

We didn't actually have meat.....only bacon.  The sides were delivered sewn into sacking by the railway company.  Smoked in one and green in the other.  I had to fold all the sacking up and tie it ready for collection at the next delivery.

I hated the large sort of tins that the corned beef came in.  Large at one end and smaller at the other.  I had to open them with a large fixed can opener, and managed to slice my wrist on one of them.  I still have a faint scar after all these years.
Yes, I meant meat, as in cooked meat.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 29, 2013, 12:21:08
Part fifteen:

Nearly the end now.....

Christian and I were very concerned about the bacon stock, as certain parts we found it very difficult to sell, especially bacon hocks.  One particular New Year`s Day, on the annual stocktaking I was feeling rather queasy because of over-indulgences the night before.  By the time the stock-taking staff got around to the provision counter I felt pretty bad, but I was just about okay until we got to the end of the marble counter where there was a large piece of muslin covering part of the stock.  Mr Christian pulled away the cloth to reveal several weeks worth of bacon hocks, fatty collar joints and unwanted oyster bacon.  Some were all dried up, many more were slippery, slimy and fly-blown.  In no time at all, as Garrard, Barnes and Mr Christian tried to decide what to do with my bacon stock, I headed for the loo!
There were several other members of the ‘top brass’ who would turn up from head office in Ramsgate.  The Chief Shop Inspector was a Mr Garrard, who was Mr Barne`s superior, and was a person that struck fear into us all.  The other person who used to come along every year or so was Sir Nigel Taylor, who was part of the board of Vyes (probably the Chairman), and would turn up periodically as part of a tour around the establishment.  One day I was cutting some meat on the cooked-meat slicer up at the window end of the counter, and I wasn’t using the clamp that kept my fingers away from the meat, and the spinning blade.  Nigel told me always to use the clamp, but of course, I said I was quite capable of managing without.  I got a ‘looks could kill’ from him, Mr Garrard and Mr Christian.  I never did learn!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 29, 2013, 16:42:42
Yes, I meant meat, as in cooked meat.

Sorry, of course!  I was a bit tired when I wrote that. :(

Regarding part 15......I'm glad I didn't get to see that sight....I would definitely have joined you! Not literally!  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 30, 2013, 10:18:36
Part sixteen.
Last part:

There came a time when the character of the High Street changed out of all proportion.  This was the opening of the ‘Byrite’ supermarket.  On the first morning we all trooped along to the new shop to criticise.  We stared through a plate glass window festooned with dozens of garish posters advertising ‘special offers’.  There were no counters, just gondola after gondola of stacked shelves and a pile of wire baskets at the door.  “The people round here will never serve themselves”,  “And look at the staff, there’s not enough of them and they’re just kids".  "What do they know about Grocery?”  We didn’t give Byrites, or any of the new fangled ‘Super-markets’ very long.
Of course the staff didn’t need to know much about grocery just to fill shelves and if proof were needed, at the time of writing the Byrites shop is still a supermarket under a different name - Vyes and its style of grocer’s shop are long gone.

Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: ann on August 30, 2013, 10:28:21
How sad.  Both the deminse of Vyes, but equally of your wonderful posts Ron Stilwell.  They have been wonderfully descriptive and really enjoyable to read.  Can we not have a 'sequel'?  Thank you so much for sharing your tales with us here.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 30, 2013, 10:45:50
How sad.  Both the deminse of Vyes, but equally of your wonderful posts Ron Stilwell.  They have been wonderfully descriptive and really enjoyable to read.  Can we not have a 'sequel'?  Thank you so much for sharing your tales with us here.

Thank you Ann.  There is quite a bit more of the time in the late 40's and 50's if I could decide what part of the forum to post it - (not shop related)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: ann on August 30, 2013, 10:57:58
Yes please.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 30, 2013, 11:16:27
Yes please.

The section in the forum would appear to be 'Growing up and Socializing' but bear with me.  I need to find the old files.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Signals99 on August 30, 2013, 12:26:04
Hi Ron
Late forties early fifties - "Go for it Ron!" Just booked my front row seat, don't keep us waiting too long.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 30, 2013, 16:10:35
Ok, started in Leisure/General leisure/growing up and socialising.

Well, you asked for it!
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on August 30, 2013, 20:21:11
Looking forward to it.  :)
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: Ron Stilwell on August 30, 2013, 22:10:31
Looking forward to it.  :)
First part already posted in the other section.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: busyglen on September 03, 2013, 14:05:01
Just come across my posts regarding the Maypole from 2010 on here, so won't add any more.  It also follows on to my next job at the Decorators shop.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6492.msg52158#msg52158

Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiffy on March 29, 2018, 17:43:58
Chatham Vye's taken on a wet day during the war. This building has survived and now houses a Burger King, but the adjoining properties have all been replaced.
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: DaveTheTrain on March 30, 2018, 09:21:01
Great photograph smiffy.  There is so much period detail in this shot.
DTT
Title: Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
Post by: smiffy on March 31, 2018, 00:45:41
A closer look at the poster...