COLUMN: Memories of Mansfield life

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We all know now that we can shop online, no problem.

When I was growing up in Mansfield it was a different story. There were many various carts, vans and lorries supplying various services and goods around the streets.

I recall miners’ concessionary coal being delivered by William H Short. They would pull up outside a miner’s home with big heavy bags stacked high on the back. Usually there were two men on the lorry, they would drag a bag to the side and then heave it onto their back. Then they would walk as fast as possible down the path or ginnal to the coal house of the miner, and tip the bag - usually anywhere but in the coal house.

There were also at that time numerous carts and horses plying various trades. Milk was delivered around our area by horse and cart as were some groceries. Various ice cream vendors came in splendid carts, some not so splendid. Some ice-cream vendors even used tricycles with the cold storage at the front and instead of the tunes we all know so well being played loudly, it was a bell.

Those whom I found amusing were the rag and bone men. They would come around shouting loudly and if you had any old clothes or scrap metal you would take it out and give to them. In return you could get a balloon or, if really lucky, a goldfish in a jar.

In those days if you gave old clothes, they would be absolutely worn out. Otherwise they would be repaired. Mothers were expert at repairing clothes, and seemed often to be sewing or darning.

We even had a fish and chip van, a converted old single decker bus, visit our street on Friday nights. The smell still lingers in my mind, wonderful!

Veggies and fruits were also sold from carts, vans and converted buses. Of course the supplies then were affected by the seasons, but because they were fairly local seemed to be much fresher.

With horses and carts inevitably you had manure. After the cart had moved, you would often see someone sprint out with a shovel to collect the pile for the garden, it was highly prized.