|Newsagents, The Broadway - not much has changed, apart from the name (2012)|
The Ewart family ran the shop for decades.
Compared to the more risky nature of some of the other shops it was a sure fire business with no chance of failure.
It was the shop at The Broadway which, depending upon the time of day attracted working men; housewives; teenagers; and children, both boys and girls, so it had an all-round appeal.
It had significant newspaper runs in the mornings and afternoons as well as Sunday newspaper runs too.
I recall delivering Sunday newspapers for Ewart's, probably because it was my day off from Baird's Newsagents, Morningside Drive.
The shop always had a different feel to it on Sundays because it was the one day of the week that Ian Ewart (who ran the shop) took off.
Other relatives came in to open the shop in the morning until it closed at Sunday lunchtime; possibly it was Ian's father. Indeed it was probably his father and mother who initially started the business in the early 1950s?
His mother (whose name appeared as the addressee, Mrs E. Ewart) appeared at various times during the week, but not so much in a serving capacity. She was a serious looking, older woman, who appeared very efficient and business like. Indeed, whenever I saw her she seemed to be undertaking book-keeping and other such tasks.
Some people may be surprised at what a good mark-up there is on newspapers.
When that is multiplied by hundreds of newspapers each day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks of the year, it really adds up. It was only after reading A Season In Dornoch by Lorne Rubenstein that I became aware of this. So the Ewart family made a very good living indeed; that said Ian Ewart in particular had to work hard and long hours.
When there were free gifts in The Hornet I would set off early on a Monday morning to buy my copy.
I might arrive at the shop as early as seven o'clock.
As I neared the shop my little heart would race to find out if the comic had arrived or not.
Sometimes there was a delay.
As well as being very disappointing this was a great worry too, in case by the time I returned after school at Hunters Tryst that all the copies of the comic had been sold out and I would miss out on the free gift; I think Ian Ewart was probably bemused, but entertained by my angst and keen enthusiasm!
We played a bagsy game.
Like something out of Dickens, a few of us would line up along the shop window front with our little noses pressed against the glass.
In turn we would bags the toy which we were going to get for our birthday or Christmas.
I don’t ever recall actually buying or getting a toy from Ewarts' and many of the boxes remained unchanged in the shop window for years. I guess it was an easy way of filling the large space for little work and imagination.
In the 1960s a significant part of the adult population smoked and this figure would have been higher in Oxgangs which was predominately working class. Players No 6; Kensitas; Embassy Regal - all the common brands, but of course no Gauloises or Disque Bleu which my father smoked!
For the shop assistants, this must have been a tiresome business.
Within the shop one whole side was devoted to children’s confectionery.
There was a long glass counter.
The whole of the front cabinet was lined with jars of penny sweets which were what most of the children came in for.
The shop assistants had to bend over and stretch forward in an awkward position.
Many of the kids took an age to make up their mind to the tune of ‘Come on now!’