Trading Histories

Ted’s Story

Cockles and mussels, the old trams, pig brains, Potty Edwards, Hillsborough disaster.

Ted was born in Tinsley in 1943 and describes himself as ‘Tinsley…through and through’.

Ted came to the markets with his dad:

‘And I used to come in with my Dad when I was pre-school age and we used to have cockles and mussels on little plates which you can still buy now. So that’s when I first started coming in the late 1940s. And out tram service, the Sheffield to Rotherham tram service through to Tinsley, used to come round Exchange Street so we could nip on the tram and get straight back home…so it was very handy transport wise as well…me Dad would have whelks, I’d have cockles and then we’d probably buy some prawns and sit upstairs in the front of the tram, I remember that, pulling the heads and legs and tails off the prawns and eating them on the way home’.

He thinks we had different eating habits then:

‘People had different eating habits, you could buy brains and pigs’ chaps and you know. You could look on a counter and see side of a pig’s face with all teeth in. People’d buy that, they’d buy brain. All sorts of different things, you know, that we don’t eat now…you’d use to see, the butchers used to have rails around the stores and there’d be pheasants and hares and rabbits and, y’know, game birds hung there’.

Ted remembers Potty Edwards in the Rag and Tag Market:

‘I remember Potty Edwards selling at his pot stall and he used to amaze me as he used to bang things about and they used to throw them about to each other and they’d throw what used to look like a complete dinner set, one to the other. They were so arranged that they were like in bloke to the other without dropping them, without cracking them, without anything. I do remember him and I remember when he moved into the Sheaf market, which is now gone, which was just across the way, and we’ve still got a tea set we bought from him. Yes, it used to come out for best parties and kids’birthday parties but not now it’s not’.

Ted much prefers the market to supermarkets for quality and prices:

‘There’s nowhere else like it. Markets are much better than supermarkets for your fresh stuff. And the prices are okay and the quality’s good. I would never think of going in a supermarket. The butcher I go to, he knows when I look on his stall he knows what I am looking for. And it’s usually a great big wedge of rump steak! I have a piece cut about an inch thick…Well I always know what I’m looking for anyway…he’s a very obliging guy and I keep going back to him. Same with the fish, the people in the fish market, fish stall, fishmongers. I go to Andrew’s.  Always get what I want there; fresh salmon, finny haddock, buy eggs from them, or chickens, bit of chicken. And then there’s a guy, at Waterall’s, go there and get some lovely big gammon steaks, you get two whacking gammon steaks for about a fiver and they’ll do two people two days. Some really good quality stuff’.

One of Ted’s vivid memories of the market is hearing about the Hillsborough Disaster:

‘So I was, I was in here one Saturday, buying some meat. The butcher had his transistor radio on, and he said to me, he says ‘There’s been an incident at Hillsborough. There are nine people dead’. And that was the latest news he had. And then when I got home, saw the television and what had happened turned out to be the Hillsborough Disaster. So I know where I was. I was in the market on the, when that was happening.’