Could Brexit spell disaster for the great British banger? / Dave Thomas

I have been giving a lot of thought to sausages this last week or so.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:30 pm
Sausages are  Dave Thomas' food for thought this week
Sausages are Dave Thomas' food for thought this week

Brilliant in Toad in the Hole, brilliant in a casserole with apple, brilliant from a quality butcher, brilliant with a full English.

Sausages. Big ones, fat ones, long ones, curly wurly ones. What’s not to like?

What set me in this sausage mode was mention of the Irish Protocol, the unworkable, crackpot arrangement that the UK and the EU agreed to for Brexit to go ahead. It might be an over simplification but it seems to me that it left N Ireland more under the Brussels jackboot than under the cloak of UK sovereignty.

The Emperor Macron of France caused quite a stir when he announced that N Ireland wasn’t really a part of the UK anyway.

But this article is about sausages rather an arrogant Frenchman, or the pros and cons of N Ireland being part of the UK; but sausages assumed a great significance because they are one of the products that might well disappear from N Irish shelves from July 1st when the Protocol transition period comes to an end and every import may well be buried in 80 pages of paperwork.

Of course, the greatest sausage producer of all (until Walls came along) was Burnley’s very own Bob Lord. He had no time for the continentals, as he called them, anyway. Bob Lord today would have led the Brexit charge without hesitation.

He began making his own sausages at his first shop at 93, Coal Clough Lane. In 1934 they were a shilling a lb and he offered to deliver to anywhere in Burnley. Or, if you preferred to get them yourself, the bus stopped right by the shop.

He dreamed of becoming the sausage king with a gleaming factory and huge machines that could churn them out by the thousand. He wasn’t far short of that and it is said that at his peak his weekly production would stretch from Burnley to London.

His wartime sausages, unrationed, were a staple part of the Burnley diet. He advertised them as ‘Lord’s Famous Sausage,' his flagship brand. Few, if any, checks were made however on what went into them. Sometimes, it was best you didn’t know.

The ingredients changed on an almost daily basis depending on whatever was available. The basic rule was that anything left over from any carcase went into them along with bread and a high percentage of fat. There is a story that a consignment of whale meat was once so inedible, it went into the sausages and no-one was the wiser.

It was the fat content that led them to explode and hence that’s how they came to be called bangers. Bangers and mash, as English a meal as you could wish for.

Next door to one of his shops was Willie Morgan’s famed boutique. Alas Burnley was not ready for Carnaby Street fashions and Sergeant Pepper outfits. He and Lord eventually fell out and how ironic it was that next to Willie’s fancy gear and trendy outfits, Owld Bob had a window filled with strings, several feet long, of his famed exploding sausages.