Australian Jubilee Meat, 1897

In August 1897, some 167 carcasses of mutton Dundee received from Australia into Britain. This was a donation or benefaction for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was officially called the “Australian Jubilee Meat” and was transported in refrigerators on the long sea voyage arriving in Britain that Autumn.

Taken to London, it was stored there and the Prince requested it should be divided amongst the poorest parishes in Britain, to benefit the Parish poor directly. Nobody was to buy this meat. It was all to be given away. Such a generous donation, of course made some headlines and was a talking point of the time.

Now where am I going with this? Well, 3 of those carcasses were given to Blantyre Parish in recognition of the hardship there and level of poverty. Three carcasses of mutton and a quarter of beef, in all 315lbs arrived in Blantyre.

By mid September 1897, arrangements had been made by Blantyre Parish Authorities to distribute the meat amongst the registered poor of Blantyre in proportions of 1lb per adult and 1/2 lb to each dependant, so its likely hundreds of people benefited. However, it was probably only one meal and and I have to wonder how fresh or what condition it was in having travelled from Australia, halfway round the world, into other storage, then by road around the country! Sadly, even 125 years on, food is still being distributed in Blantyre to those people struggling.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Harry Kielty another interesting piece of history. And 125 years later as you say, the poor being fed still. Not by Royalty this time, but by their neighbours and strangers.
Anthony Smith And we have food banks today for the poor and needy.

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