Guess the weight of the bull!


Those Forncett residents who are regular attenders at the summer fete will be familiar with contests to "guess the weight" of something, such as a cake or a jar of sweets. However, back in 1910 local residents were set a more demanding challenge!

Between 1904 and 1930, Bertie Edmund Smith ran a butcher's shop at the top of Tabernacle Lane. The cottage, which still stands, had a slaughterhouse, yard and stables behind it. Bertie and his wife Bessie had two sons, Allen and Kenneth, and many years later (from around 1947 to 1972) Kenneth also ran the business. Following a recent enquiry to the Forncett History website we had cause to research Bertie's life in more detail and found the following report in the Norfolk Chronicle of 31st December 1910.

The bullock's weight of 85 stone 11 lbs equates to 545 kilos. The article sheds light on a photograph, shown above, from the Forncett Archive (curated by John Webster) which had always been thought to relate to Bertie Smith's business. The photograph seems highly likely to have been taken at the time of Bertie's competition and the date allowed us to identify all the individuals. They were (L-R), Frederick Pinchen (age 21), Charles Rush (age 16), Bertie Smith, Allen Smith and Kenneth Smith.

Sadly, the newspaper article does not tell us what the lucky winner, Mr. Potter, received as a prize but it was presumably not the bullock!

Mike Merrick and John Webster