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Unweighed Bread?

Unweighed Bread?

Posted: 12 May 2012 3:27AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 12 May 2012 3:33AM GMT
What exactly does this mean:

"The following persons were summoned for selling bread otherwise than by weight, and penalised in the sums named:...." The fines appear to be small.

This was in December 1891 in Birmingham, England. As far as I can tell, the person on the list I am familiar with did not ordinarily sell bread.

Thank you to anyone who can give some insight into this.

Re: Unweighed Bread?

Posted: 12 May 2012 7:48AM GMT
Classification: Query
We tend to think of "consumer protection legislation" as a rather modern invention, but it is actually centuries old.

The weight of a loaf was first subject to regulation in 1266. From 1822 a loaf of bread had to weigh 1lb (or multiples thereof). This size was reduced to 14oz during the second world war and changed to 400g after metrication in 1977. The weight of bread was finally deregulated, to comply with EU rules, in 2008.

Re: Unweighed Bread?

Posted: 14 May 2012 1:40AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you! That is so interesting that this type of regulation has existed for so long.
Could I assume that this would apply to someone who was in the business of selling food?

Re: Unweighed Bread?

Posted: 14 May 2012 6:33AM GMT
Classification: Query
Indeed it would. Those most likely to be caught out by the regulations would be people on the margins of the bakery trade who were less experienced and less well equipped to ensure that their loaves were the precise weight required. Perhaps your ancestor was a bit down on his luck and hoped to make a few extra pennies making and selling home baked bread. If this was the case, it would not have been surprising if the weights and measures inspectors were tipped off by the local baker who didn't want his trade affected by the upstart amateur.

Re: Unweighed Bread?

Posted: 14 May 2012 10:09AM GMT
Classification: Query
Okay, that makes complete sense and fits very well with what I know of this particular ancestor! : ) And, interestingly, his fine was the smallest on the list I was looking at, being for only "costs," so that fits with the idea that he would have been doing this on the side.

Thank you for you help!
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