HM38 – Bob Thornicroft’s Memories

Bob Thornicroft Memories of Harbury- HM38

Bob Thornicroft was interviewed by some of the children of the top class at Harbury Primary School


Could you tell us where GT Alcocks butchers shop was?

What kind of meat did he sell?

How did he display his meat?

Was his meat dear or cheap?

Approximately how big was his shop?


G.T. Alcocks butchers shop was the building on the corner of High Street and Chapel Street now known as Phoenix House.

He sold every kind of meat, beef, pork, mutton, lamb all of a very high quality.  Much better than the meat that is sold today.  He would buy most of the animals locally and slaughter them himself.  It was a small shop.

The meat was on display on large hooks all along the front of the house.  All the stray dogs would sit and look longingly at it.  But it was too high for them to reach.  Meat was never cheap.  It has always been our most expensive food.


How big was Thornicroft the bakers shop?

Did it sell anything else apart from bread?

How did you display your bread?

How many employees did you have?

What time did you get up?

What time did you open up?

Can you tell us anything else of interest about the bakery?


The bakery shop was the front part of what is now Mr Mugelstons shop.

Cakes, pork pies and animal foodstuffs was also sold.

There was little need to display the bread as most of it was delivered daily.

People in those days received service from the shopkeepers.

The bakery and oven was where the back part of Mr Mugelstons shop is.  The oven was 14 ft long by 9 ft wide and held 320 large loaves.  Bakery work was very hard work.  The day began at 4 AM when two of us would start to get the first oven load of bread made up.  The dough for this was made at 8PM the night before.  In the early days this was made by hand, very hot and hard work.  Afterwards we used an electric mixer which was a great help.  The next dough would be made at about 6 AM in the morning.  This would follow on when the first was baked.

To make the 320 large loaves it needed: 480 lbs of flour,24 gallons of water, 21and a half lbs yeast and 6 lbs salt.

Every baker also used what was known as “improvers.”  These were of course kept secret from the customers.


I hope this has answered most of your questions.  But if you wish to ask any more I will help if I can.