Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Chicken Tales

1960 Chicken Invasion

An unusual delivery arrived at Ryde Post Office when it was invaded by 1,500 chickens.

For the first time ever, chickens were brought in by several vans from Wight Poultry, to be dispatched across the country.

Rationing during World War Two meant good layers were all important.

“30 White Wyandottes were all laying when 5 to 6 months old. They averaged 5 eggs each weekly throughout the whole laying period thanks to using Karswood Poultry Spice,” says Mr J. L. Notts. Try 1/3d. packet from: Duffetts Corn Stores, High St., Monkton St., and Garfield Rd., Ryde.

The Wyandotte is a breed of chicken originating in the United States. They are a docile, dual-purpose breed kept for their eggs and for meat. They appear in a wide variety of colour patterns and Wyandotte hens are devoted mothers.

A Partiality for Poultry

Girl X (10 years), of Monkton-street and Boy Y, were charged with stealing a fowl, value 2s 6d, the property of John Savage, of Albert-street. Ann Fairhall deposed that she lived in Albert-street, next door to Mrs. Savage. On the previous Wednesday she was in Mrs Savage’s house, and saw the prisoner Girl X pelting the fowls with brickbats and stones. She tapped the window at the girl, who continued pelting them. Witness then went out and found the girl still pelting the fowls and a boy with a fowl under his arm. She told them they had no business there, and that they were to let the fowls alone and go away. The girl said “We were putting the fowls in again; they had got out” Witness then went indoors, as Mrs Savage was not well. Francis Thorne said he lived in Park-road and was a green grocer. On Wednesday last the prisoner Boy Y was outside his shop. He had the fowl (produced) with him, and offered to sell it to the witness. Witness bought it off him for 1s, having first asked Boy Y “It is your own fowl”? Boy Y “Yes”, Witness “You haven’t stolen it have you”? “I shouldn’t like to” The same night he gave the fowl up to PC Watson. John Savage, plumber, of Albert-street, said that at the back of his house there was a garden, and at the lower end of it had had a fowl-house, and kept poultry. They were fastened up in the fowl-house all day. On Wednesday the 10th he missed a fowl-that produced was the one missed.

Sadly in the 1880s child prisoners were dealt with very harshly and Girl X was found guilty and sent to an Industrial School.

Also in the 1880s it was perhaps not that unusual for a policeman to seize a fowl, take it to the owner, then the police station where it had to be housed, fed and watered until being produced in court as evidence where the owner identified it as his missing chicken!

The names of the prisoners have been omitted as a courtesy to any possible relatives today.

John Savage of Albert street, whose chicken was stolen, is the grandfather of RSHG member Derek Warman.


Sources: Isle of Wight County Press 24 December 1960 (Isle of Wight County Press, Looking Back 50 Years Ago, 24 December 2010); Isle of Wight Times 4 May 1944, Isle of Wight Observer 20 May 1882 & Wikipedia
Photo images: www.cacklehatchery.com; thenaturalpoultryfarmingguide.org; history.powys.org.uk/school