'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Saturday, 29 September 2012

No Pedlars, Hawkers or Salesmen!

I was going to entitle this blog, Balloon or a Balloon? after an exchange of comments with Liz Blades-Hamilton in Australia, previously 6/6, The Stair. However, apart from going easy on my younger self and saving it for another day, I was also reflecting on the number of  salesmen who had featured in this little run of blogs-Jock the Fishman; Jimmy the Grocer; Mario the Ice Cream-man.

It made me think of a door plate that I saw at a few houses at Morningside when I was doing my early morning paper run for Bairds Newsagents. The sign said No pedlars, hawkers or salesmen. I didn't have a clue what the first two terms meant, but always found the sign interesting. When I read the sentence out loud  it had a certain rhythm to it-like the title of a Cher song. It also seemed quite intriguing too. Even now, there's almost a medieval feel to it.

It's made me reflect on how lucky we were in some respects to be brought up in Oxgangs at The Stair. There was a certain richness of experience in our lives which might have been missing if we'd been brought up elsewhere. We met all these wonderful characters and shared in the vibrancy and colour of communal living. If we'd stayed in the leafy suburbs of Morningside life would have been quieter and much more solitary.

So, No Pedlars, Hawkers or Salesmen certainly wasn't the kind of door-plate that appeared on any door at The Stair. Perhaps, if there had been, it might have been as below!

Or on second thought it might have been any or all of these!
For the earlier blog on Jimmy's Green Van either of the following two badges might have been appropriate!

The Y is unfortunately missing!


Elizabeth said...

Hi Peter, Yes after our balloons exchange I also thought of the other salepeople and pedlars who came door-to-door to sell their wares in Oxgangs. Not having ready cash was not a problem because credit was extended which allowed repayment over an extended period, in some ways like a credit card today. There was a certain Mr Duckworth from the Provident. I do not recall ever clothes shopping with my mother - she had neither time not money - so Mr Duckworth was very handy. She would tell him what was needed and he would bring along some items for her to choose from. That was a step up from getting my clothes in boxes from the congregation at St George's West church!
Another salesman was a Pakistani gentleman, who my brother Douglas irreverently named 'Sambo'. I have no idea what his real name was but I always admired him because it took guts to do what he did. He wore a traditional trench coat like Humphrey Bogart, and carried a large brown suitcase stuffed with all manner of goods which he would open as a display once a door was opened. His price range was such that there was always something useful that could be afforded. He must have come in one of the first waves of immigrants from Pakistan. He was always very polite and friendly, and of course some of his range was exotic for the likes of Oxgangs - beautiful silk scarves and ties from India.

Peter Hoffmann said...

Update: Migration Stories, Pakistan is still on at the National Portrait Gallery Queen St Edinburgh until 14 October.