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Bilston Market lady looked like Ena Sharples

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 02, 2014

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YOU have asked for stories of folk from Bilston market. At the moment I am writing a book about my life growing up in the late 1940's, 50's and early 60's.

There was an old lady who used to sit in a wheelchair outside the right hand entrance to the market.

She reminded me of Ena Sharples from Coronation Street.

She had a note safely pinned to her front – I never went close enough to read it, and had a large biscuit tin on her lap.

People would put pennies in her tin and when she had 12 pennies she would put them into shillings and stack them up in rows. I never saw her come or go.

There was a large stall inside the market called Banards. They used to sell home-made sweets and confectionery.

They had a little factory in a side alley opposite the market. It was always packed with people queuing up for their produce.

We would buy a bag of 'kayli,' it looked like yellow sugar. You could lick your finger, stick it in a bag of 'kayli,' or you could get an empty bottle, stick some 'kayli' in and fill it with water, shake it up and you had a bottle of 'Bilston pop.'

Outside there was anther sweet stall that sold everything. The chap who ran it was massive and wore braces.

He looked like he had eaten all the sweets. He would get a large paper bag and start piling slabs of chocolate, toffee and fudge sweets, everything into the bag.

"Who'll give me 10/- (ten shillings) for it?" No one moved.

"I'll tell you what, not even 7/6d, give me 5 shillings for the lot."

Still no one moved, so he started piling even more goodies into the bag.

"You're robbing me now; who'll give me 2/6d?" I've never seen so many hands go up. His assistants were handing bags out as quick as they could fill them.

Then there was the Army and Navy man, he had a large stall at the back of the market. He sold ex military stock from the wars. He sold everything but a tank, and I bet he could get you one of them if you wanted.

There were bayonets, army knives, spats, ammunition boxes, divers' watches, ammunition bags, ideal for your 'snap' for work plus spanners for tanks, army and air force overcoats, ideal for the winter.

I am trying to get in touch with a Trevor Johnson who writes a lot about Bilston. If you read this Trevor, can you ring me on 01902 620406.

K.L. Parton,

28 Telford Gardens,

Merry Hill,


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