My top pie shop

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...and memories of Scout knives and lamplighters

My Boy Scout penknife, swinging on a lamppost at the corner of the street, my favourite pie shop and memories of Preston Whit Fair.

All these enter into my offerings for you today – in both words and pictures.

In the 1940s, 50s and’60s, no Cub or Scout was worth his salt without a penknife and piece of string in his pocket.

Some such knives had screwdrivers, bottle openers, scissors and the like incorporated into them.

And the best of all was the Swiss Army penknife. This was designed by Karl Elsener for the Swiss Army in 1891 and even incorporated a pierce and prise can opener.

What a boon this was for opening a can of beans if you were on Scout camp!

But it is back to day-to-day life for my first iconic picture (top, right), that of the lamplighter.

After my recent article about the knocker-up and the lamplighter plus our games around and swinging on the corner street lamp, readers have shared with me some fascinating tales and pictures.

Pie shops and even cook shops still abounded when I was a lad.

Longridge had a superb pie shop on Berry Lane and still does, Singletons of Garstang had a shop in Orchard Street, Preston, and Cowgills had a great reputation in Clitheroe.

But for me Johnsons in Tithebarn Street, Preston, reigned supreme.

So the picture sent to me which I use as my second offering (right, bottom) brings back such great memories of tastes, smells and pies of the past.

It seems to me that in those days every individual pie shop had its own recipe, one you could get nowhere else.

My last picture (bottom) is of Preston Whit Fair. This, too, will bring back memories for lots of our readers.

Cast your mind back to the waltzer, the caterpillar, the dodgem cars, the helter skelter or even the sedate children’s rides on the fish market.

The aroma of smoke, oil, steam and diesel from the showman’s engines and generators, hot potatoes from the coal fired ovens and, above all, parched peas and vinegar from the food tent was heavenly.

But I wonder how these activities would go on today with all our food, health and safety laws?