Looking at all the food available in a supermarket today, it’s hard to believe that someone would thank the State of Queensland for sending them six hundred tins of boiled beef. But in February 1915 David Keep, the Town Clerk from the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in London, wrote a letter of thanks to Hon. Digby Denham, Premier of Queensland. (Mr Keep actually addresses the letter to the Hon D F Denham, Prime Minister of Queensland – a small hierarchical error!)
At the time, the Borough of Bethnal Green was one of the poorest in the east end of London and families in the area were in acute distress on account of the present international crisis when the 6lb tins (approx 2.7kg) of boiled beef were apparently distributed among them.
Interestingly, the Bethnal Green Town Hall now operates as an upmarket award-winning hotel in the heart of vibrant East End. There’s most likely not a skerrick of boiled beef on the premises!