TI visit to Campsea Ash Game Auction

Campsea Ash Game Auctions are held near Woodbridge on Mondays in season, and are an economical way to get local game, including rabbits and pheasants from local shoots, or in the case of the rabbits, sometimes caught using ferrets.

The auctioneer usually starts off as a Dutch auction starting high then dropping down by increments until he gets some interest, then starts to ramp up again until the last bidder gets the lot. This can be heard on the audio recording – clearest with the wigeon auction started at 0:38 where the auction is started at £1, then drops to 60, getting some interest, then up through 70p to find a sale at 80p.

The auctions aren’t only for game, they are also for furniture, house clearances and antiques. The game auction takes place under cover in a shed, where buyers can inspect the lots before bidding. Here you can check out the condition of what you’re bidding on, and note down the number of the lot.

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7 Responses to TI visit to Campsea Ash Game Auction

  1. alex says:

    Are they selling the live bird (well I think it is what I can hear on the soundtrack) as well? Is it just a cockerel or something more exotic?

    I find it darkly ironic that it is making a big racket and drawing attention to itself whilst the rest of the birds are auctioned off, perhaps there’s a metaphor for certain human behaviour there.. 😉

  2. richard says:

    There’s a more overview pic on the Audioboo page – the game is on the right hand side of the narrow passage though not visible on that pic, and on the other side on the left to the back there are some cages with live chickens which you heard, and some live rabbits. The recording was made for the overall sound picture rather than to show the auction process, which is why it isn’t as clear as it could be for that purpose.

  3. John says:

    Blimey, you make it sound like a Chinese street market. It was only a cockerel and some laying hens.

    The auction itself was quite a fun and lively process, I’d quite like to do more shopping in this way.

    Initial conclusion on the food front: not much protein could be supplied to Ipswich in this way, looks like a low/non meat diet is the way forward.

  4. alex says:

    Add a few more poultry, and it would not be unlike the markets you can still find today in modern Malaysia! I would not discount the return of such markets to towns, though I would hope that reasonable animal welfare standards are still preserved.

    I agree that we should maybe eat less meat, but its worth also taking on board that many forms of Oriental cookery are designed to require less meat whilst still being filling. That said, I would hope we do not go back down the road of blurring the boundaries between food animals / pets / wildlife too much though, especially as even in the early 20th century and during wartime in Europe, meat dishes did not always contain the expected species..

    Ironically a while back my sister drove down from Reading, and cooked dinner, she brought with her a duck crown she had got from Waitrose there, the duck having originated from Gressingham foods!

    I suspect a lot of “our” food actually feeds London and SE England due to market forces and transport costs being externalised..

  5. richard says:

    > I suspect a lot of “our” food actually feeds London and SE England due to market forces > and transport costs being externalised..

    they’ve been at it a long time 🙂 Daniel Defoe, writing in 1722 had this to say:

    I have hinted, that I shall observe, how London is in general supplied with all its provisions from the whole body of the nation, and how every part of the island is engaged in some degree or other of that supply; On this account I could not omit it; nor will it be found so inconsiderable an article as some may imagin, if this be true which I receiv’d an account of from a person living on the place, (viz.) That they have counted 300 droves of turkeys (for they drive them all in droves on foot) pass in one season over Stratford-Bridge on the River Stour, which parts Suffolk from Essex, about six miles from Colchester on the road from Ipswich to London. These droves, as they say, generally contain from three hundred to a thousand each drove; so that one may suppose them to contain 500 one with another, which is 150000 in all; and yet this is one of the least passages, the numbers which travel by New Market-Heath, and the open country and the forest, and also the numbers that come by Sudbury and Clare, being many more.

    For the further supplies of the markets of London with poultry, of which these countries particularly abound: They have within these few years found it practicable to make the geese travel on foot too, as well as the turkeys; and a prodigious number are brought up to London in droves from the farthest parts of Norfolk

    I didn’t believe them when they told me this at school – I thought they were having me on.

  6. alex says:

    thats more turkeys than the entire human population of Modern Ipswich. According to google, it would take about a day or so to walk that distance. Surely the drover didn’t do this in one whole stretch, presumably resting at inns etc, but what did they do with all the poultry?

    That said, even today ducks run loose in the streets of Stowmarket and Diss 🙂

  7. richard says:

    counting big flocks of birds is always an imprecise art 🙂

    They did the same with geese, however the drovers didn’t make the journey in a single pass. They started out in October and had to fatten the birds along the way, staging it over many days, then fattening them up for market for Christmas.

    This 1878 article on The Metropolitan Meat Market shows 19th century London even got some geese from France!

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