Turkey “Sale of the Century” in Forncett?


The Norfolk turkey has been an important feature of Christmas for well over a century, and for many years the Sale Yard opposite Forncett Station played an important role in the Christmas turkey trade. However, in 1932 the Christmas Poultry Sale exceeded all expectations as reported in the EDP on 8th December.



Mr. A. R. Hunt, auctioneer, North Walsham, has erected on ground adjoining Forncett Station one of the most up-to-date covered poultry markets in the country, and the opening on Tuesday had apparently been looked forward to and prepared for by most of the farmers in that well-known poultry district. The market consists of a large covered and well-lighted building, round which and in the centre are housed fine pens capable of holding upwards of 4000 birds. From an early hour, vehicles of every description appeared to be converging on Forncett, and long before the time of the start of the sale the whole of these pens were filled to overflowing and supplies were still pouring in. This necessitated the erection of additional penning accommodation for nearly 2000, and by 11 o'clock these were also filled, and we understand that several hundreds were taken back to the farms again to wait until the next sale on December 20th.

The event caused probably the largest collection of people ever seen in Forncett, while buyers were so numerous that it was quite impossible to get near the pens. This large attendance undoubtedly affected the trade, which met an extraordinary jump, and practically the whole of the 600 pens were sold at prices in excess of what the owners expected, and more than had been experienced in the district for months. Some 200 prime turkeys and geese met a very fast trade, nice cock turkeys making up to 37s. each, while hens realised 25s., and geese sold readily at from 10s. to 12s. each. (Note: in 1930 a farm labourer's wage was 31s 8d (£1.60) for a 50 hour week!)

The auctioneer provided refreshments for both sellers and buyers, and this duty was efficiently undertaken by Mr. G. H. Youngs. of the Safety Valve Hotel, which adjoins the sale yard.

Turkeys ready to leave Wymondham for London in 1913 

Mike Merrick