Les Keys Butcher

  • Subject: Oral History
Front of 'Just Computers' shop

Butchers ‘back slang’ and the interior of the old-style butchers. Believed to be today’s 82 High Street.

In this audio you can hear Judith. 

The audio is 1 minute and 24 seconds long.

Audio Transcript:

And there was another very good butchers, Les Keys. And he had two assistants – he had three assistants. Two couples were a couple in their 50s, I suppose then. And a younger chap in his 30s, chap was, I think, was Terry and the older couple talked back slang in the shop. 

Their names were Pat and Jim, but they called each other ‘Tap and Mij’ and instead of meat, “paying for the meat”, one wouldn’t say pay paying for the meat, it would be “paying for the team” – meat backwards, just reversing words. Not necessarily every single word, but significant words. As a matter of course. It was something the old fashioned butchers trade did. 

They had a separate till as well, up some steps behind a brass grill and a cashier who sat there and you went up the steps and handed your payments through the grill to cash register where you press the keys and the flags flew up. Completely separate from the food so that people handling the food weren’t handling the cash. They were butchers. They have the whole carcasses delivered and they will cut them up on the premises so that you can more or less say, “Look can you cut me up a hock of pork?”, and you’d come in and it would have been jointed as you wanted it.


South Norwood High Street Stories is funded by Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme delivered by Croydon Council. For more information visit www.croydon.gov.uk/southnorwood

Image Credit: Croydon Council

Front of 'Just Computers' shop

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