This aged picture of a London Trotters cart was taken around the 50's/60's, I forget exactly. I came across it sorting through things tonight. The Trotters were rag & bone men, an early type of recycling that has long gone out of fashion. 'Steptoe & Son' is a famous TV sitcom based on one family somewhere in Shepherds Bush trying to make a living. There is a little emblem on the cart, could it be a council one? I wish I had time to search through the RBK site now. This site is full of old pictures and tales from the libraries of Kensington & Chelsea. Well worth a look.
The use of horse and carts is rarely seen today although some breweries still use them occasionally. My dad used one to deliver milk in the early 50's and Dunfermline Co-op were still using them until the mid sixties. I rarely saw them in London when I lived there however one horse, bored with waiting for the boss to come out of the pub, straddled the pavement to ensure he got attention from someone on one occasion. The St Cuthberts Co-op in Edinburgh not only used horse deliveries into the late 60's they also looked after the queens horses when she bothered to use the Scottish Royal Coach. I suspect some London based civil servant will have sold it now.
How good memory is in making such sights appear enjoyable, a light relief from the cares of the day. However for the man working them there was no relief until he had got back to the depot, settled the horse in a stall, cleaned up and made his way home. It's easier to switch off an engine that deal with a horse. The pay then was poor, nothing for being sick, and sacked for anything almost. Still the sun shone more then, maybe.
Memory is useful when retracing your steps as I had to today. I noticed the battery in the camera was running low and I mused as to whether it would work if I went out then and now. No time to ponder, I got ready and made my way out before the rain began. As I crossed the road the rain began. I walked through the
drizzle gardens, replacing a wreath or two blown by the wind from the memorial, and headed into town. As I left the 'Poundshop' clutching my three for two bottles of cheap bleach, oh how I live in luxury, I noticed the camera was not in my pocket, a pocket usually kept shut by a zip. Oh dear thought I, someone has pinched it or I dropped it when replacing that wreath. How could I live without the camera? Bad enough waiting to get it repaired let alone lose it. What if it had been nicked, how, when, oh dear! I splashed my way, faster somewhat, through the glistening trail, down the road, through the gardens, back home. No sign, if dropped it was lifted and gone, no chance of that returning. Naturally as I got home I found it on the desk where I had left it after checking the battery. The stupid old fool had forgotten to put it in the pocket. Memory you see, I need one!