Knife and Scissors Man

Tuesday 25th March 2014.

“Knife and Scissors need sharpening ma’am. Just a penny fur each item.” He would shout with a broad yokel accent.

Just recently I have been researching folk songs and music. This particular style of music has always been a favourite of mine, and while doing so I came across this one. I could not find a recorded song so I have decided to make a normal post out of it rather than a music one that I intended to do. This song and title reminded me of old services that my mother use to use. Many of you might have even experienced or come across the same.

Knife and Scissors

Above is the song, and it brings to mind the days when I was a very young boy, a man, rather scruffy man with his bicycle toured the roads and streets touting for work. He was offering the sharpening of knives and scissors and all sorts of gardening tools, shears, pluming cutters, hoes, virtually anything that was offered to him..

Wonderful Memories!

His bicycle was fitted with two circular grinding stones. One large one and one small one, of different grades. Apparently a coarse stone and a fine stone.

Knife and scissors notes

He would  set his bicycle on a stand and make a few adjustments and somehow got his pedal and chain to connect with a few different cogs that would then enable him to turn the grind stones. Some of theses  pedlars  would be towing a small cart  which would carry other tools and a seat and cogs and connections. He would spend a few minutes setting up his bicycle so he could sit and peddle away turning the stones and sharpening the offerings given him. He was quite popular in our road, many of the neighbours would come out and get a selection of knives or scissors sharpened, including my mother.


This man was just one of a few that use to travel our streets in those days. We use to have a pretend Frenchman selling onions, Another was man selling fresh vegetables  and other groceries from his van. My mother used him regularly. Every Friday he turned up about 5pm and he became a friend, his name was Mr Bishop. Also a coal delivery service every week, once and sometimes twice, depending on demand.

We also use to get a lot of other door to door selling, flower sellers, wooden peg sellers, and at Christmas others would appear trying to sell wreaths and log decorations. There are probably others that I cannot remember, but I bet you can think of a few different one.

Today trends have changed so much, health and safety etc, and this no longer happens, or at least to acceptability standards.

2014 signature




7 thoughts on “Knife and Scissors Man

  1. When I was a child we had a butcher, baker and milkman who would come to our door every few days if not every day, and a fruit and veg man, pie man and ice cream man who drove their trucks slowly up and down the streets beeping or playing their particular tune to announce their presence. We also had a postman deliver mail on a bicycle twice a day and blow a whistle to let us know we had mail.

    1. Memories indeed, coal man and postmen ice cream as well like you we had these, also a vegetable van. The coal man was my best mates dad. Lavender and peg sellers so many.. Thank you Trish for your memory as well… 😉

    1. Thank you Wendell, your words mean so much to me.. and yes thanks I am now getting stronger and life slowly returning to normal if such a thing.. But always worrying and life changes as well as beliefs.. 😉

  2. It doesn’t seem all that long ago. I believe I saw my last sharpening man in the late sixties, or could it have been later. About a year ago I heard there’s one in town now. I like when these interesting folk came around. My mother always had to buy something. She couldn’t say no when it was delivered before she made up her mind. 🙂

    1. My mum was the same,, the man always stopped at our gates and she would always find scissor or knives and get him to sharpen them… it was the early 70’s I last saw any of these characters. Welcome always. 😉

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