Bob Lord was a modern day Scrooge and the tale of how he sacked all his staff on Christmas Eve is legendary/ Dave Thomas

Charles Dickens, Scrooge, Tiny Tim and ghosts.

By Dave Thomas
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 3:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 4:00 pm
Bob Lord (photo courtesy of Burnley Civic Trust)
Bob Lord (photo courtesy of Burnley Civic Trust)

Mistletoe, cheese and wine although with covid and all that, is mistletoe on the banned list?

Mince pies, tinsel, crackers and party hats. Sprouts and roast chestnuts and endless repeats on TV.

They had cheese and wine at number 10 with Boris during lockdown although to be honest they looked well spaced out in the picture of them in the garden that was leaked in the press.

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It was no worse than a street party we held on our little estate where we all sat outside and chatted and waved and wandered up and down to say hello.

Christmas chez moi starts with me clambering into the loft to fetch the boxes of decorations down. It doesn’t get easier as old age approaches. The tree resides in the garage each year and every year another branch falls off, but it will outlast me and the Mrs I’m sure.

Boris kept us on pins I suppose with a sort of 'will he or won’t he' order a strict clampdown that would ruin Christmas day. I don’t think he dared after the Christmas party revelations at number 10 last year in lockdown.

I always look in horror at that Welsh minister who comes on the telly looking like the Grim Reaper issuing his restrictions. A 'two-bob' councillor, someone labelled him, revelling in the power he holds.

When Boris does his press conference flanked by Professors Doom and Gloom that’s another occasion to say “oh no not again.” Personally, I’d get Ant and Dec instead.

I guess we all have our favourite Christmas stories and mine concerns owld Bob Lord, the Burnley Butcher aka Lord Bob or Bob Chop and the former chairman of Burnley Football Club.

It was Christmas Eve in the workshop, the Lowerhouse factory to be precise, where production had finished for the day. The cleavers were all cleaned and polished. The aprons were hung up. The sausage machine was silent and all seemed well with the world.

The van drivers and delivery chaps had finished their work early by lunchtime; the vans were hosed down, cleaned and spotless and so they looked at the clock and saw it was still only mid-afternoon. So, they decided to retire to the canteen to wait for clocking off time.

Oh dear, big mistake. What they should have done was wash and scrub the vans a second time to while away the time. Sitting in the canteen to while away the time was a definite no, for when Lord Bob found out he was apoplectic.

Bob, let it be said, paid good wages but for those good wages he was insistent that every penny should be earned, every last bit of meat scraped off every bone and every minute occupied. Thus, when he discovered the van drivers sitting in the canteen his inner rage boiled over furiously.

Down he marched to the canteen, polished shoes thumping on the cobbles. Face set like a bulldog, fists clenched.

And when he gets there and confronts them all, he sacks them on the spot. At least Ebenezer Scrooge had an ounce of feeling left in him, and didn’t actually sack Bob Cratchit.

The van drivers were crestfallen. This was Christmas Eve. Truly this was a dire situation they were now in. But: was owld Bob visited by the three Christmas ghosts? No, it was his foreman who, on hearing the news thought ey oop, this creates a problem and went off to let Bob know what that problem would be.

“Just one tiny snag Mr Lord,” he said, doffing his cap. “Nah thee has sacked yon lads, who will thee get to do the deliveries when we gets back after Christmas?”

Bob Must have cottoned on immediately as his mouth dropped. “Oh tha’s reet lad, who indeed will do the deliveries after Christmas?”

And so, Bob sent a message to all the drivers that they weren’t sacked and to report for duty as normal after Christmas. And for good measure the story goes, although this is the bit that is most unlike Bob Chop, he sent them all a turkey as well.

It makes a nice end to the story, just like owld Scrooge bought a turkey for the Cratchits.