Invoice & Statement of Account 1939 & 1943

These documents are addressed to Mr J L Pocock in Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex.

The first, an invoice dated 14th October 1939, was sent very soon after the UK declared war on 3rd September.  It is for 1000 lb dripping cartons, and is overstamped:






The order to evacuate vulnerable people from the cities in case of bombing raids was given at 11.07am on Thursday 31st August 1939, before war was declared.  1.5 million children, pregnant women and other vulnerable people such as the disabled, evacuated to safer countryside locations in just two days.

The second document is a statement dated 31st March 1943, for 13/1d [13 shillings and one penny, about 65p in today's money].  It is receipted as paid on 14th April.  This statement shows our Manchester address as 60 Gloucester Road, Urmston, to where we had moved after our Albert Street premises were destroyed by bombing 3 years earlier in December 1940.

The Pococks had been butchers in Bexhill since the early 1800s, occupying a shop near the church which had been established in 1801 when Hanoverian soldiers were billeted in the Old Town.
The 1881 census showed James Pocock living there with his son James L Pocock who is the recipient of this statement.
However the Pococks had also been engaged in a far more nefarious business than butchery!  During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Bexhill was a centre for smuggling, and this activity increased significantly after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 due to the return of soldiers and sailors who could find no legitimate employment.  Among several well-known local smuggling gangs were the Pocock family, others were the Gillhams, who were carpenters in Little Common and the Groombridge Gang, who had links to George Blackman, landlord of The Red Lion at Hooe.

Invoice & Statement of Account 1939 & 1943

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