This shaky bit of amateur film we think is a real piece of social history. It dates back to the 1950s when my grandad was making his own cine films.
Arthur Edward Rose (or J. Arthur Rose as we liked to call him) was a pork butcher with two shops and a factory in Burnley, (yes I know that’s in Lancashire, but it’s my grandad). At the Lawn Street factory he would butcher his meat and make all the pies, sausages, mince, black puddings, pork scratchings and polony, that went into the shops. He claimed he used every bit of the pig except the squeal. You can see his film of sausage making here.
His wife Eliza – my grandma – ran the bakery. Here she is making a hand-raised pork pie. She makes it look easy, but if you’ve ever tried it, working the pastry up a pie mold evenly and without tearing it, takes skill and practise.
She had plenty of practise. Although most of the pies that came out of the bakehouse were small ones baked in tins, at Christmas she would make dozens of these large labour-intensive, hand-raised pork pies.
My sister and I would sometimes help, cutting out pastry stars for the top of the pies, but we’d soon get bored and go and play in the office or pretend to ride horses on top the sacks of spices in the store room. We’d never dream of eating one of the still-warm pies from the oven. I’d love them now, but as kids we had no interest in such uncool food.
Grandma was very shy and hated being filmed, but I love it that she puts on her pearls to show off the finished pie.
Have a look at the end too, where there is some wonderful period detail of shopping in the 1950s when women wore hats and scarves and children had pigtails with ribbons and wore windcheaters, remember them?
The closest thing to a Rose’s pork pies we’ve found is at Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shoppe in York’s Shambles. Other good pork pies can be had at Stanforth’s Celebrated Pork Pie Establishment in Skipton and Weegman’s of Otley. If you know of any other good pies, let us know.