RICHMOND SAUSAGE WORKS
CHIPS ARE DOWN FOR EMPTY SAUSAGE WORKS
YOU may think it is hard to get nostalgic about a sausage, but mention the name “Richmond” in the same breath and you are on to a sizzler. The former Richmond sausage works is one of Litherland's best known and loved landmarks.
   Today it stands empty and vandalised, a monument to a past when the smell of fresh sausages wafted down Linacre Road and the pink pig advertising the best bangers around could be seen from a distance.
   This week we revive the days of the Richmond works and reminisce about one of the most popular places of employment in Liverpool in years gone by. Recently, I spent an afternoon at the home of one of the founders of the sausage works, Mr Alfred Moore, who contacted us after seeing a recent appeal for information about the factory.
   At 83, Mr Moore is content to remember the days of the sausage factory. He still has an air of superiority about him, and according to his wife, Sarah, he still thinks he is running the Richmond works because he bosses everyone about! Mr Moore smiles, he agrees that the days at the factory were eventful, and he fondly reminisces with accuracy the history of the factory from the comfort of his armchair.
 
BEAUTIFUL
It all began in a small shop at 63 Linacre Road, where Mr Moore's father, Louis, sold sausages to the people of Litherland. “That would be about 1889. My father was a very fine butcher who made beautiful beef sausages.” said Mr Moore.
   Business was booming, and in 1917 the first-ever Richmond sausage factory was opened on the same site as the shop. The founder members were Louis, George, and Alfred Moore — the empire had begun.
   But why call the factory Richmond? “Thereby hangs a tale.” said Mr Moore. “You see in those days there were two types of sausage, Oxford beef sausage and Cambridge pork sausages, but we decided we wanted a brand of our own — sausages with a different taste. We were part of a good Methodist family, and Richmond was one of the names of the colleges, so we adopted that.” explained Mr Moore.
  In the very first week of production the Moores and one other member of staff produced 600lbs of sausages — and sold the lot.
   When the controls came off meat after the First World War, making sausages became an even better business. “We could sell about 800lbs a week at the shop and business boomed and we needed larger premises.” continued Mr Moore.
   In 1930 the empire grew larger, the first phase of the Richmond works which still stands today was built, and a year or two later the building was completed. There were now 230 people producing sausages and there was a fleet of 120 vans delivering the produce throughtout Britain.
   Uniform at the sausage works was strict — all white and all freshly laundered by the local Diamond cleaners each week. It was a 48-hour week for all employees, and that included some Saturady work — yet the Richmond remains in the hearts of many as a very happy place in which to work.

FORMULA
But Mr Moore says there was no special formula for the contented atmosphere at the works — apart from the Liverpudlian character of the employees. Many readers have written saying it was a grand place to work with a wonderful atmosphere, and many former employees say the happiest years of their lives were spent at Richmond.
   The dawning of the Second World War could have marked the beginning of the end for the sausage works — but instead markets increased — there was nothing the troops liked better than a plate of good old bangers and mash. So the Richmond sausages became the pride of Britain; soldiers throughout the country enjoyed a taste of Liverpool during the war.
   Back in Litherland the sausage producers themselves were facing a tough time, the worst during the May blitzes of 1941. “We worked a good many hours each week and often through the night, and there were bombs coming down all around. We knew that one night one had landed near to us, but we decided to leave it until morning. Then we found it — it was in the yard right in the middle of 6cwt of fat. It was unexploded. I can tell you we got it defused pretty quickly,” recalled Mr Moore.

Alfred Moore photographed in 1983
   Mr Richmond himself — Mr Alfred Moore, who founded
   Litherland's   sausage works  with his  father, Louis and
   brother George.

   There were no great celebrations to mark the end of the war at the sausage factory, apart from small parties. To many of the workers each day was like a party, according to Mr Moore, who said that it was music while everyone worked at the factory. “We would have two-and-a-half hours of music each morning on the gramophone.” he said.
   During the next few years trade boomed and an offer was made by the large Walls group to incorporate Richmond sausages into its empire in the 1950s, and so the Moores sold out. Mr Moore would not reveal the exact price — but says he has never been pleased with it.
   With the takeover, Mr Moore was appointed chairman of the Richmond works and from there he assumed command of six companies, in areas as far apart as Northumberland and Evesham. Richmond sausages were becoming known countrywide, and according to Mr Moore: “Business had never been better.”
   And trade was still increasing in 1965 when Mr Moore retired — but just five years later the sausage machines were to grind to a halt and the last batch of Richmond bangers was dispatched. Since then, the famous landmark has remained empty.
FUTURE
No one seems to know just what will happen to the works. The huge pink pig disappeared many years ago, the windows are now smashed, and despite an estate agent's sign being hung outside nothing has been signed and sealed and the future of the works is still unknown.
   As for Mr Moore, he says he is disgusted at the state of the works. And as for sausages, he says he “ Never buys any of these modern things”, instead he eats home-made bangers from a friend's shop in Whalley.
   Mr Moore now leads a quiet life, but is still quite a celebrity, he is the only surviving freeman of the old Crosby borough, and to many he is still known as Mr Richmond.
   But he and many others agree that there will never again be another sausage to match a Richmond banger.

© Crosby Herald — Litherland Look-in by Lynne Hilton
3rd February, 1983


1966 Advertisement
The home of the original Richmond Sausage — 63 Linacre Road Photograph © Linacre Methodist Mission
Photograph © Ronnie Cusworth 2005

Litherland & Ford Digital © Ronnie Cusworth 2002-2006