Bananas caused all the trouble

Bananas caused all the trouble  – Five Greengrocers In Court

Hertfordshire Mercury , 7th September 1951

Rivalry between a Hoddesdon greengrocer and a greengrocer’s stall in Hoddesdon Market , particularly on the question of banana allocations , was suggested by a solicitor at Cheshunt Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday , to have caused a fight in the town on July 18th .

Five greengrocers – Frank Charles Worsley (42) , of 9 Knebworth Avenue , Walthamstow  (owner of the shop) : his brother , Leonard Worsley (30) , of 176 Hoe Street , Walthamstow : and the stall traders . Albert Edward Wilson (65) , of  Thrift Cottage , Ware Road , Hailey and his step-sons , Robert Ernest Eaves (24) , of 55 Ware Road , Hailey , and Walter Edward Eaves (36) , of Ware Road , Hailey – were each summoned for committing a Breach of the Peace , and all were bound over in the sum of £10 to keep the peace for the next six months . The two Worsleys pleaded not guilty , the other three pleaded guilty.

Mr Derek Wheatley , defending the Worsleys , said that Frank Worsley had opened his shop in Hoddesdon and Wilson and the two Eaves ran a stall in the market nearby . Mr Worsley , as an established shop trader , had an allocation of bananas while the stall apparently had not .

Frank Charles Worsley said that on July 18 his brother came to see him , and as he walked across the street he heard one of Wilson’s step-sons say ” There is the banana king , ”  or words to that effect . One of them caught hold of him by the coat , but , he said , it was not a threatening gesture . Nothing more happened then , but, alleged Worsley , at 6.15 p.m. , he was about to close the shop when a car drew up with Wilson and the two Eaves in it . Wilson started abusing him and , after saying a few words , struck him , and he fell on the floor .


” He struck me on the chin and I fell to the floor , ” said Worsley. ” I got up and he struck me again , and I fell down . The Eaves never struck me at all .  Worsley said he saw his brother arrive and there was another skirmish .

Replying to questions from Chief Inspector Pritchard , Worsley denied having used bad language or insulting the other men earlier that day , and said that he thought that rivalry over business was the cause of the incident .

His brother Leonard Edward Worsley , said that he was having a meal when someone ran in to say his brother was being set upon . ” I went out – I didn’t know anything much about it : the first thing I knew I was being attacked .” he said, and alleged that he heard Wilson call out ” Go on , do him – do him proper !  “

Worsley denied having heard his brother swearing and using foul language to Wilson .

P.c. G. Thorpe said that at 6.15 p.m. he saw Frank Worsley bathing his brother’s face , which had a jagged abrasion over the left eye .

P.c. Thorpe added that when seen later , Wilson said he was told by his step-son when he came home that Worsley had been calling him a certain name . He went to the shop to  ask him what he had called him that for .


Walter Eaves, in a statement said , alleged the Officer : ” Yes, I was there . Frank had been making himself a nuisance all afternoon and called my father a ______ . The statement added that they joined the fight to protect their father .

During the hearing , P.c. Thorpe produced a blood-stained shirt which , he said , belonged to Leonard Worsley . At this juncture Wilson said . ” We have pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace but not to assault . The ones that were assaulted were us . “

After the two Worselys had given evidence , Wilson , when asked if he had anything to say commented . ” We have been in the market 40 years and have never been in trouble before , until they came . I have never been in any trouble before and I leave it to the discretion of the Court to decide whether they have been telling the truth or not . “


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