Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

Pig Keeping

Most of the cottages in Fazeley had large long gardens and many had brick built pig sties with tiled roofs and a brick built enclosure with a chute for feeding. Pigs are the cleanest of animals and would never soil their bedding.

When I was demobbed in 1946, food rationing was in existence and carried on for another 10 years or more. My only brother and I decided to build a pig sty. There was a government scheme that if one fed and cared for a pig of a certain weight for slaughter for the government, enough rationed pig meal could be bought to enable two pigs to be reared.

We built a brick enclosure to house a 'copper', and a chimney stack, for it was coal fired. We bought stock feed potatoes, which were sprayed purple so that they could not be sold in shops and boiled them up along with potato peelings. This supplemented the rationed pig meal.

Out of a row of nine cottages, four occupants kept pigs and two of us later went on to have our own sows and breed.

The time for slaughter, usually near Christmas, was very busy. The abattoir was just down the road in Mill Lane.

We would rope the pig, walk it up the long garden path and cross the busy A5. Invariably. A lorry driver would make his vehicle back fire, the pig would snort and take off down the road with the two of us hanging on to him.

The living room of the cottages opened directly on to the street pavement and on one occasion our pig decided to sit on a doorstep and we could not budge it. We had to go and get the slaughter man for help.

My cousin's husband, on one occasion did not cross the road with his pig and it went straight through the swing doors of the Three Tuns, startling the drinkers leaning on the bar. I have heard of a pig in a poke, but never a pig in a pub.

The cost of killing a pig and curing the bacon was a pound. After a short period we would fetch the pork meat and offal and our mum would set to making delicious faggots. The meat was cut up and some would be given to neighbours who had given us their potato peelings. We lived like lords after being used to a small meat ration and then a little later we had two whole sides of bacon and ham. Our mum used to say that you used everything on a pig except the squeal.

It was hard work feeding, cleaning and obtaining food and straw for bedding but it was very interesting and we went on later to build more sties and go in for breeding our own stock. All told we had several breeds, Berkshire, Essex, Saddleback, large and middle whites and black.

We had many amusing moments. We used to lease a boar for breeding and once when it arrived it went straight down the garden path, pulled up dead when it reached the canal at the bottom of the garden and sat down next to a neighbour who was fishing.