U.C.P. Memories

I was born in Bury in Lancashire in 1931. It was a typical mill town - most people worked there. My earliest memory is of the clip clop of clogs going past as hundreds of men passed our house on the way to work each day. [...] 'Mum and I used to meet for chips every lunch time at the United Cattle Products Cafe - though I never ate tripe!
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Older Mancunians will remember the steamed-up UCP cafés. United Cattle Products. Tripe. Once eaten out of necessity, it became popular with many.
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In Lancashire and other parts of the North of England in the 1950s there were 146 UCP shops-cum-restaurants specialising in tripe dishes and with long queues for seats. UCP stood (and still does at its single remaining outlet) for United Cattle Products, who also provided ox tail, cow heel and other bovine extremities in an age when little was wasted. Tripe was also sold in chip shops.
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UCP stood for United Cattle Products, the Burnley branch of which was run by Ralph Mason Ltd. They had large premises in Exmouth Street (off Finsley Gate) and branches throughout the district. The one [...] at 6 Market Street [...] was one of their main shops. However, as late as 1953, there were nine other companies of what were known as tripe dressers. They often combined their tripe business with the making of black puddings, one of the best known firms of which was Bradshaw Bros. My memories of the firm UCP refer to their excellent restaurant which was situated in St James's Street.
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Cowheel, tripe, black puddings - they were all butcher's specialities to be savoured by the working man. [...] There is a genuine sense of place in the area north of Manchester [...] Bolton in particular has such a strong history tied in with its food that it was impossible not to get caught up in it, and the raw materials for making this food and these recipes like Hindle Wakes and tripe and cowheel stew are still available. [...] Many people that I spoke to remembered the United Cattle Products (UCP) outlets serving tripe, cowheel and black pudding.
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With her positive, unself-conscious outlook, Polyanna is a wonderful nurse, cheering up the town's previously negative, cantankerous, and grumpy invalids, and she always enters sickrooms bearing bowls of calf's-foot jelly. This intrigued me, because even though I grew up in northwest England, the heartland of the U.C.P. empire (combined shops and restaurants owned by United Cattle Products, with steamed-up windows, huge displays of tripe, and a strange smell of boiled cow), I was never given calf's-foot jelly when I was feeling ill.
• Source: "Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts" by Jane Brocket, page 135

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