Thursday, February 06, 2014

Armageddon -6 : A Yorkshire Pudding, A Rabbit, And A Few Pints Of Tea

I am continuing my journey through 1914 with the local and regional newspapers of the United Kingdom as my guide. We arrive at February - Armageddon minus six months - and still the newspapers have nothing to say about the possibility of war. The Halifax Courier focuses on the exploits of Harold Wood, a railway shunter, of Selby.

Harold Wood, railway shunter, of Brayton, near Selby, aged 32, claims to be the champion Yorkshire pudding and rabbit eater of the world, and is prepared to meet all comers in the United Kingdom for any stake. His view is that he was born to eat just as other men have a turn for painting, writing, or fighting. His daily programme he gives thus, and, incidentally, he complains that he has always been hungry, for he does not eat for the mere sake of it:-

Breakfast, 11 am - A 3d loaf and a pound or so of bacon.
Dinner, 12.30 pm - Ten pounds of potatoes, as much meat as the state of the family exchequer will permit, and two or three pints of tea (four or five if he is thirsty).
Tea, 4.30 pm - A 3d loaf, either cut into slices and buttered or toasted, and several pints of tea.
Supper, 8 pm - Another 3d loaf, and a few more pints of tea.

The other day he had his usual tea at 5.30, and then accepted a challenge for a stake of half a sovereign to dispose of the following:-
- Two large Yorkshire puddings, each the size of a dinner plate.
 - A rabbit weighing five pounds
 - A quarter stone of mashed potatoes.
 - A slice of toast.
It went quickly, helped along by two pints of shandygaff, and, to satisfy his hunger, he bought fish and chips on his way home.

As far as I can tell, Harold Wood survived both the coming Great War and also the effects of his rather excessive diet. He appears to have died aged 76 in 1958.


  1. I could hold my own with the Yorkshire pudding, but the rabbit. . .
    Well maybe I just haven't had good rabbit.
    Is a Shandygaff the same as a shandy?

  2. The shandygaff may prove to be the answer to it all :)

  3. You can't bea a wee snack before dinner.

  4. I was worried that he might have shuffled off this mortal coil a tad early, due to his diet. Glad that wasn't the case!

  5. I knew a fellow who ate like that once. He was "skinny as a beanpole." He claimed to always be hungry. Obviously had a metabolism different from mine. I can gain weight looking at pictures of food in a magazine.

  6. You answered one of the questions forming in my mind in your final paragraph. The other one was "How big was this bloke?"!

  7. Obesity must have been a problem then, not to mention the cost of keeping Harold in food.

  8. Presumably he lived in an unheated house - that uses up lots of calories.
    And railway shunter - that sounds like hard work so ditto.
    But all that food regularly? He must have been enormous.


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...