Obituary: Peter Martinelli MBE

Obituary: Peter Martinelli MBE

Meat Management is sad to record the death of Peter Martinelli MBE who passed away at his home in Tenerife on Thursday 27th April aged 87.

Peter Martinelli MBE pictured in 1992.

One of the outstanding characters of the UK meat industry, Peter was best known as a Smithfield market trader, and his slogan of ‘meet us under the clock’ was well known as he actively promoted his business P J Martinelli via regular trade advertising and other marketing.

Peter was proud of his Italian roots and both his parents were Italian. However, he was actually born in Paddington in 1930 the only son with five sisters.

Peter was an enthusiast for the meat trade and was also keen on music. To brighten everyone’s day it was not unusual to hear him play the saxophone to get things moving on the market. He was also well known for his hospitality and early morning Champagne was often featured for those visiting his office. He described himself as a rebel with a cause.

He entered the RAF at 18 in 1948 and when he came out he worked in his fathers café in Warren Street, which he described as the most educational period of his life. He started his meat trade career in 1954 at A. J. Poels becoming an offal salesman and stayed for nine years.  He started his first business in 1965 with the encouragement of John Silver and Gerald Stitcher. Varied career changes followed and at age 58 he started P J Martinelli and eventually handed the business over to his son Paul.

He joined the Worshipful Company of Butchers in April 1966 and was a Common Councillor until 2013. He was also a past BDCI Festival Chairman, taking the chair in 1980 when the Charity was still known as the BCI. He was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours list in 2011. His sons Paul Martinelli and Peter Martinelli are also members of the WCB Livery.

Peter was  very knowledgeable about the history of Smithfield Market in London and an enthusiast for its success. He also organised or was involved with a whole host of industry events over the years.

On hearing the news of Peter’s passing, publisher of Meat Management, Graham Yandell, commented: “We have lost a great friend and a wonderful man today. He was always fantastic fun and our industry will be the poorer without him.”

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