THE Bugle's coverage of Black Country markets over the past few weeks has created a healthy debate among readers and underlines how important this aspect of the region's social character was in days gone by.
Since Gerald Hanrahan's memories of Bilston market were featured he has been reading the letters of response with a great deal of interest and as a result couldn't let one well known character go without another mention. He contacted us after Margaret Owen remembered the lady with the pram and told us, "She stood at the corner of Vine Street and Church Street and had become a permanent fixture in Bilston town centre. Her name was Mrs Bayliss and she lived in Leicester Street, Bilston, close to Oxford Street and St Mary's Church, an area that had become run down and was eventually cleared by Bilston Council for regeneration.
"She could be seen pushing her pram up Oxford Street early in the morning as regular as clockwork, preparing to sell newspapers from opposite the Town Hall. She also did well selling Old Moores Almanac, a booklet specifically published for superstitious folk. It foretold world happenings during the year. I wonder if it mentioned Mrs Bayliss in the small print, a real character on the streets of old Bilston. As a postscript, I wonder if any Bugle readers recall the Saturday performances of the Sally Army brass band on the same corner of Vine Street"?
There are more stories to be told so please keep sending us your memories of Black Country markets and in particular market characters. Contact editor@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or phone 01384 567678.