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Rag and bone man

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Harry Report 22 Apr 2013 11:00

Probably just for older members. Was reading about modern poverty and it just brought the rag and bone man to mind. We "never had two pennies to rub together".

Any memories.?

Happy days

A mother is like a button, she holds things together.


Sharron Report 22 Apr 2013 11:10

The modern economy is becoming similar to the nineteenth century economy in some ways. Then,fear of the workhouse led people to do anything they could to make money,collecting dog dung to use in the corduroy manufacturing trade,sweeping crossings on the ill repaired and dusty roads for the benefit of the better off.

I saw a van yesterday for some service that clears up dog dung.Couldn't see all that was written on it so I don't know how they operate but it was a private enterprise.

Rag and bone men were early recyclers, as were scrapyards (my favourites).


AnnCardiff Report 22 Apr 2013 11:29

Steptoe and Son :-D

never saw a rag and bone man as a child but they were around - I lived on a country road - out in the sticks - they never came our way


Mary Report 22 Apr 2013 11:40

If I remember correctly you used to come round on horse and cart and you would get a gold fish in exchange for old clothes,
I wasn't too keen on them.
Many a times got told if you don't behave the Rag and Bone men will take you!



Mauatthecoast Report 22 Apr 2013 11:59

Yes Harry I remember them vividly with their horse and cart :-D and getting a goldfish too.But we didn't give him rags,more likely any old scrap.

As children we used to take asstd.rags (after Mam had picked all she could from them to 'recycle') to a rag merchant in the next town. He would put the sack onto a huge weighing machine and give us money back. Cannot remember how much cash we took home but know it must have been worth the effort by bus fare alone. :-D

Love your sayings Harry and sew ;-) true xx


**Ann** Report 22 Apr 2013 12:04

Hello Harry

Yes I remember the rag & bone man....probably in the 50's. I even remember what he looked could here him coming your way, I think he used to call out "any old rags"

My nan always used to pass the time of day with him and give him a cup of tea if there was one brewing.....wonder did he ever make his fortune.

Hope you are well


**Ann** Report 22 Apr 2013 12:05

Mau.......I never got a goldfish :-(


Harry Report 22 Apr 2013 12:09

Thanks for the lovely replies. Making a comeback now with lorries.

In the old days there were up-market rag and bone men. Some travelled on foot; some with a hand-cart; and the posh ones with a horse and cart. Apparently they weren't allowed to give articles to under 14s although i remember getting the donkey stones from them. Goldfish were not classed as an 'article' so that was allowed.

Never heard of a rag and bone woman.

Happy days


Porkie_Pie Report 22 Apr 2013 12:09

I not only remember the rag and bone man,

I became good friends with him and have been for years, He is a very wealthy man as a result of his rag and bone days



GlitterBaby Report 22 Apr 2013 12:11

Still got the old fashioned rag and bone man with a horse and cart.


GlasgowLass Report 22 Apr 2013 12:14

I remember "The Rag Man" as we called him from the 1960's.
He had cheap cups, saucers and plates, vases, balloons and loads of other tat.
I don't remember goldfish! :-\ :-\
I have just remembered , he always had artificial flowers which were really.... Plastic Roses!


Elizabeth2469049 Report 22 Apr 2013 12:21

I saw the horse and cart version several times in the early 1980s when visiting Sunderland - must ask family there if they're still about.


GRMarilyn Report 22 Apr 2013 12:29


Our Rag & Bone man had shed in the town and he also took in empty Jam Jars and gave us half penny for each..........we used to go and knock on neighbours doors for their empty Jam Jars all put in a Royal Pram that was mine as a was an outing for me and my sisters !!

Gosh how we ever did that I'll never know was 2 miles each way I was only about 10yrs or maybe younger ..LOL


Tecwyn Report 22 Apr 2013 12:49

I remember the rag and bone man very well from the late 40s, early 50s. They had premises on the corner of our street. The horse was kept in a shed at the rear - very like "Steptoe & Son"
They had a small shop at the front, where anything remotely saleable was kept in a heap on the floor.
The old man and lady both went around the town on the cart - calling out " Old rags and lumber" and ringing a hand bell.

I never knew what " lumber " meant.

Don't remember them having goldfish. We never gave them anything. We wore our clothes until they literally fell apart through wear and constant washing.

I only ever went inside that shop once. I needed swimming trunks for school swimming lessons. My mother couldn't afford them, so she sent me to the "Rag Shop" as it was known.

There was an argument as to whether I would go there, but I did in the end. The shop absolutely stank, a horrible rancid smell, enough to turn your stomach.
I told the old lady what I wanted, and she dived into the heap of old clothes, miraculously emerging with three swimming trunks. She eyed me up and down for size - I was 11 yrs old, and skinny.
I paid tuppence, and ran out of the shop, feeling like I was running alive, and itching all over.
My mother washed and washed the trunks until I was allowed to use them.

Funny what one remembers after all these years - I remember that old lady had filthy black finger nails, like claws - yuk.


Brenda from Wales

Brenda from Wales Report 22 Apr 2013 12:52

Like Harry,I remember the rag and bone man with the donkey stones.
Mother liked the cream ones for the steps at the back of the house.
These were stoned on a regular basis.
Never had goldfish in my day...but Im remembering mainly in the 40's


CupCakes Report 22 Apr 2013 13:03

The rag & bone man used to call twice a year. Mother collected all the clothes in the cupboard under the stairs for him and he gave her china crockery.

Grans second hubby pop was a rag & bone man and had a special trading license. On another site there is a copy of the doc. Was famous on Canvey Island. Family all went to Aus early 1950's and he started the trade there as well. Funny though he stopped when they won the lottery.

:-) :-) :-) :-)


Mauatthecoast Report 22 Apr 2013 16:11

I recall in the fifties the Tagareen shop
in North Shields......

Down by the dockside
Round the corner past the pub
The tagareen man
Has a tagareen shop
Where just about anything goes.
Hats and scarves
And rubber boots,
Sou’wester hats,
Second-hand clothes,

Fishermen’s jerseys,
And waterproofs,
You’ll find them all
In the tagareen shop
Where nobody goes.
There’s bargains galore
Both at sea and ashore
To be had at the tagareen shop.

You can rummage about
In the piles on the floor
Like a pig with his snout,
Rooting about in the straw.
Somewhere in that lumber
You’ll find any number
For everything’s there
In the tagareen shop —
Even if nobody knows.

The tagareen man
Has a broad range of stock —
A bit of old rope?
A nice pair of shoes?
Dreams of a distant shore?
He’ll sell you his soul
For the price of a beer,
The tagareen man
In the tagareen store.

I never ever went inside his shop cause I was skeered :-0 :-S


ChristinaS Report 22 Apr 2013 16:23

I used to love it when we had something to give to the 'rag and bone man', as that meant I could stroke the horse. (I don't remember any goldfish).

We still get the 'old iron' man. He uses a lorry though. We just leave unwanted metal items out the front, and they're always gone within a day or two.


OllietheOwl Report 22 Apr 2013 17:54

We used to get a donkey stone off the rag and bone man for cleaning the front step.


AnninGlos Report 22 Apr 2013 18:43

Yes we had the rag and bone man who also collected jam jars. I also remember the goldfish. :-)