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U.C.P. Memories

Characteristic of Oldham, and indeed of much of Lancs, but which I found strange, were some of the "catering establishments" in the town. Tripe was a favourite local dish, together with chitterlings and "cow-heel pie". These delicacies could be obtained from tripe shops, some of which had been upgraded to restaurants under the name of "U.C.P." Consumption could be on or off the premises, and if the former, you sat on a bench at a marble slab table. If you wanted a "take-away", you had it in the basin you had brought with you. Packaging was not over-done in war-time. "U.C.P." seemed fairly innocuous until you found out that "U.C.P." meant "United Cattle Products". Somehow the thrills of the abattoir seemed uncomfortably close to the cuisine.
• Source: www.domusviridis.org.uk

My mother worked in one of the 146 tripe shops and cafes run by United Cattle Products, or the UCP as it was formally known. In their day, the black and white clad UCP waitresses vied with Betty's of Harrogate for being the last word in elegance. UCP cafes were every bit as popular as McDonalds and Burger King are today throughout the North West in the 1950s and 1960s, with youngsters as well as mill workers. Sadly, tripe has proved a turn-off for a generation which prefers pizza and elephant leg kebabs to a chunk of thick seam. As far as I'm aware only one UCP cafe survives, in the evocative setting of the Poultry Hall Abattoir in Salford.
• Source: www.hexhamcourant.co.uk

The initials stood [...] for United Cow Products. As Susan Jaleel has good cause to recall, it was actually United Cattle Products - "the offal emporium of the north-west." UCP, however, sold much more than loads of tripe. There was cow heel and black pudding, liver and kidneys, rissoles of doubtful progeny and other bovine delights. "The initials UCP used to be as ubiquitous in the north-west as M&S, BHS or MUFC," wrote Matthew Engel in The Guardian in May 2001. Matt should know: the canteen at the Manchester Guardian used to sell tripe salad, though the stuff was also popular with shady greyhound trainers who wanted their dogs to lose. Nothing lay more heavily than a half pound of tripe. Susan especially recalls the cafes above the UCP shops, staffed by waitresses clad formally in black and white. "Anything that was sold in the shop you could eat in the café; the queues waiting for a table knocked Harry Ramsden's into a cocked hat. "The café in Bank Hey Street, Blackpool, behind the Tower, was the number one venue for millions of day trippers over the years." Particularly, however, she remembers them because the UCP caf in Hyde is where she and her husband - now retired from a Darlington Memorial Hospital consultancy but then too poor to afford a proper reception - held their wedding lunch in 1965. A day to remember? "We were definitely not disappointed."
• Source: www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

Oldham then was a mill town, and with all that implies. It was dirty, cold, damp and depressing especially in March. [...] Other features recalled are the U.C.P. café’s whose specialties were tripe, chitterlings and cow-heel pie. Discovering that U.C.P stood for "United Cattle Products" did nothing to improve my appetite. Later, whilst in Stockport, I had to pass each morning a shop which seemed to sell nothing but tripe, this being unloaded into the shop window which was lined with white marble slabs. In this receptacle the tripe was usually seething like an angry sea when I passed.
• Source: www.domusviridis.org.uk

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