Unit 6 - Hawkers

We  used to have men coming round the houses  selling  different things - one was the tin man from Penrhyn.  He used to make  food boxes  that  would fit in your pocket and that was  the  way  the quarrymen  carried  their food - they never had a  bag  on  their shoulder.  He did other things for the kitchen as well.

Georgie  Potiwr came from Porthmadog - he sold  earthenware  cups and  saucers  and odd things, he took rags and sometimes  in  exchange, he would give cups and saucers or plates.

We  had another man from Porthmadog who came with his  horse  and cart  to sell herrings and he used to shout "fresh herrings  from Nefin - they were in the sea this morning". 

Jim  Ambarel came round very often - he repaired  umbrellas.   We also  had  a man coming round with his sharpening  machine  -  he would sharpen scissors and knives and other things, the machine worked with a pedal.

A tramp would knock on the door early in the morning with a cocoa tin  with a wire handle.  He would ask for hot water to make  his tea  and then his mate would come, he would ask for something  to eat.  They had come from the workhouse which was at Penrhyn then.  One came to our door on a Sunday morning, he had a box of  safety pins  and reels of cotton and other things to sell.  He  put  his foot  inside  so that my mother could not close the door,  and  my father was getting himself ready to go to chapel, and down he came from  the  bedroom  and he said to the old tramp  "What  are  you mwmian  here" - his English was not very good and he  closed  the door on his boot and the tramp got very nasty.

There used to be a gypsy family called Abraham Wood, who used  to come around selling and making baskets and one of the sons,  John Valentine Wood, is buried in Llanfihangel churchyard.  They  were very good for playing the mouth organ and concertina.