Selling styles of ’80s market traders caught in film

York market pitcher: “You get the Sindy boy, the Sindy girl, and the baby in the back there. And the only reason the baby’s in the back there is because, when we unloaded the van here this morning, we found little Sindy in the same box as Action Man.

York market pitcher: “You get the Sindy boy, the Sindy girl, and the baby in the back there. And the only reason the baby’s in the back there is because, when we unloaded the van here this morning, we found little Sindy in the same box as Action Man."

First published in News by

THE banter and cheeky selling style of North Yorkshire’s market traders of old are remembered in an internet photgraph exhibition created by a former University of York student.

The techniques of traders who once attracted huge crowds in York’s Newgate Market are now available to view online in a film called Life’s A Pitch! And Then You’d Buy, by Dr Colin Clark, who captured the colourful characters as part of a research project throughout the late eighties and early nineties.

He said: “It must have been in 1984 when I was working as a junior or doing my Phd in the sociology department. I remember there used to be this guy on Newgate market who used to gather a big crowd around and give all the sales spiel and we videoed him. They were phenomenal market traders.

“They were just brilliant sales people. We tried to study them because we thought they were a dying breed of working-class entrepreneur. A lot of them made a good living out of it.

“We also have some pictures of a guy who used to sell bacon joints in Selby. That was right in the middle of the miners’ strike in 1985.”

After capturing the region’s market place characters, Dr Clark’s interest took him further afield, capturing footage throughout the UK and eventually in the United States.

He said: “In 1984, when we commenced our research project, pitchers could be found on almost every British market. During 2011-12, though, when we revisited many of the markets from our original study, we found that pitching – with its roots going back well before medieval times – had all but died out. Today, British markets face a highly uncertain future; many of the traditional street markets are in decline and pitching has become a dying art.”

See Dr Clark’s film at marketpitching.com

 

York Press: “I call this my miners’ deal because you get superb value for money on this one. In the supermarkets it’d cost you over £9.20. My normal price is £6.50, but I’m gonna go lower than that here today. I’ve worked cost for the last four months bec

The butcher, above, on Selby market during the miners’ strike, said: “I call this my miners’ deal because you get superb value for money on this one. In the supermarkets it’d cost you over £9.20. My normal price is £6.50, but I’m gonna go lower than that here today.

"I’ve worked cost for the last four months because of the miner’s strike, and this is the only line on the vehicle that I don’t actually earn a profit. Right, watch what I’m gonna do with them. They’re not £9.20, and today they’re not even £6.50. ’Ere, ten hands up sharp. Gimme level and silly money – a fiver for the whole lot!”

Comments (9)

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9:04am Tue 20 Nov 12

Woody G Mellor says...

I remember tham well. Fond memories.
I remember tham well. Fond memories. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

9:33am Tue 20 Nov 12

Platform9 says...

I think it's Howard in the top picture?, used to enjoy his banter with the pubic
I think it's Howard in the top picture?, used to enjoy his banter with the pubic Platform9
  • Score: 0

9:36am Tue 20 Nov 12

amike says...

Yes That s Howard Lee in the first picture
Yes That s Howard Lee in the first picture amike
  • Score: 0

10:06am Tue 20 Nov 12

Blimp says...

Banter livening insipid market place?

BrillIiant, love it! More please.
Banter livening insipid market place? BrillIiant, love it! More please. Blimp
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Tue 20 Nov 12

baldiebiker says...

Not only is it Howard in the first photo but it's taken in Selby his stall was in front of The Griffin, the window in the background is the upper floor of Gotchs shop,
Not only is it Howard in the first photo but it's taken in Selby his stall was in front of The Griffin, the window in the background is the upper floor of Gotchs shop, baldiebiker
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Tue 20 Nov 12

CynicaloldGit says...

amike wrote:
Yes That s Howard Lee in the first picture
Aye, remember his beach towel sale...."ere missus, look at the size of this towel..........there
's enough room for you, you husband and the bluddy lodger"

Happy days
[quote][p][bold]amike[/bold] wrote: Yes That s Howard Lee in the first picture[/p][/quote]Aye, remember his beach towel sale...."ere missus, look at the size of this towel..........there 's enough room for you, you husband and the bluddy lodger" Happy days CynicaloldGit
  • Score: 0

4:36pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Firedrake says...

Well spotted, baldibiker ... a neat bit of forensic photo-analysis there!

And of course the butchers' van is in the yard at the back of the Londesborough - near Crow's Auction: fur and feather, bikes and bedsteads etc ... still going, I believe. (The Auction, that is.)
Well spotted, baldibiker ... a neat bit of forensic photo-analysis there! And of course the butchers' van is in the yard at the back of the Londesborough - near Crow's Auction: fur and feather, bikes and bedsteads etc ... still going, I believe. (The Auction, that is.) Firedrake
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Tue 20 Nov 12

The Junkyard Angel says...

Howard lee was better than Del Boy !! What a top yapper he was!!!
Howard lee was better than Del Boy !! What a top yapper he was!!! The Junkyard Angel
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Tue 20 Nov 12

brahma says...

I bought a pair of beach towels from him at his stand outside M&S back entrance in 1999. Still have them both, still doing fine. Anyone know if he is?
I know he stopped having his stall in York shortly after - and I think the press did a piece on him - but he intended to keep on in Selby.
I bought a pair of beach towels from him at his stand outside M&S back entrance in 1999. Still have them both, still doing fine. Anyone know if he is? I know he stopped having his stall in York shortly after - and I think the press did a piece on him - but he intended to keep on in Selby. brahma
  • Score: 0

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