You can still buy broken biscuits in boxes today, but back in the day, they were sold loose and scooped into paper bags by the pound. Woolworths was the place to go – can you remember the big glass-fronted biscuit bins?
Many in the Spring Chicken Community have fond memories of a trip to Woolies to get a bag of broken biscuits:
“I used to go to the pictures or swimming every Saturday morning and afterwards I’d get a shilling’s-worth of broken biscuits. There were all different sorts in there!”
“I was always sent to Woolies on a Saturday for 1lb of plain broken biscuits and 1lb of mixed broken biscuits. These were weekend treats for all the family.”
Plain or Mixed?
Plain broken biscuits were cheapest but the excitement of finding a piece of pink wafer or a chocolate biscuit in the bag made mixed broken biscuits a popular choice. It was first come first served at the broken biscuit counter, and according to Facebook followers, the job of scooping and weighing the biscuits into bags gave just as much pleasure as eating the contents:
“I worked on Woolworths biscuit counter whilst still at school. They were 1/6d a pound back then and there were many, many people who came in for 4 ounces. I’d scoop a big handful (no health and hygiene to worry about) into the bag, pop it onto the scales, register the weight and then hand it over in exchange for 4½d… Why is it I can remember this clearly, but I can’t remember the names of people around me half the time? I loved my job!”
The problem of supply and demand at the broken biscuit counter appears to have been easily remedied by enterprising young sales assistants back in the day:
“My sister had a Saturday job on the biscuit counter. If any elderly ladies asked for broken biscuits when there was none left, she used to just break up some of the unbroken biscuits to solve the problem!”
“I worked on the biscuit counter in Woolworths and when I knew my mum was coming in, I’d break up more chocolate ones ready to scoop up into her mixed broken biscuit bag! That was 70 years ago but I remember it to this day.”
Broken biscuits first appeared in Woolworths stores in the 1920s and remained a popular feature into the 1970s. Times have changed and not so many people would queue up for a bag of broken biscuits these days, but the last word on this memory from yesteryear goes to this comment:
“It is a well-known fact that when a biscuit is broken, most of the calories drain out through the broken edge. Thus, broken biscuits were much healthier, and this explains why people were less likely to be overweight in the past.”