U.C.P. Memories

U.C.P. The initials stood stood for United Cattle Products - advertised as "the offal emporium of the north-west." The U.C.P. sold much more than just the load of tripe my mother bought. There was cow heels and black pudding, brawn, heart, ox tongue, and sweetbreads, liver, kidneys, rissoles, faggots, sausage and many more bovine delights. I remember this shop and cafe very well. Saturday mornings I would be dragged around Hyde while mum did some 'week end' shopping. Everything else she would buy during the week was from our local Spar shop at the bottom of Knott Lane when she could 'run up a slate'. The Spar's long gone and is now known as Grocer Jacks, and very well it seems to be doing as well... but lets get back to Saturday mornings of old. After some shopping mum would head to the U.C.P. to meet up with my very scary Granny Wig and my Aunty Annie. At the table would be another two lady's who's name I don't recall. It was a sorry looking bunch, never a smile between them, but we had to turn up on Saturday for any gossip. I hated it... Apart from the food, their chips and gravy was to die for. Sometimes I got pie & chips but my favourite was their steamed puddings. We always sat downstairs and I never did see the inside of the much posher upstairs. I did see the ladies who served upstairs though, and very smart they looked to in their black uniforms, white bonnets, and white apron. Mum always bought her tripe before she left. The stall was enough to give you nightmares and the names it went by were not much better - elder, honeycomb, thick seam, bag, slut, brown... the list goes on. As far as I know I've never knowingly ate it, but mum was a pest at putting different stuff on our plates. Brawn was something else she tried feeding us on, and for years those cold beef butties I liked so much turned out to be ox heart... I don't eat offal at all now... if I can help it!
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