Well remembered stall
Many people posting comments about the Open Market have mentioned ‘The Blind Man’ who had a stall there. Maurice Raff, ‘The Blind Man’, was my grandfather. He had been a tailor in London’s East End until he went blind overnight, in about 1937. At the time his wife was told that he would not live for more than six months. He, his wife and their three children, Dorothy, Barbara and Jack (2 other children had died) moved to Brighton in 1939.
Times were hard
As there was very little by way of Social Security in those days, times were very hard for them. Grandfather loved running his market stall where he sold the 6d toys people remember, as well as some at the exorbitant price of 2/6 just before Christmas. He also sold lengths of material and haberdashery like buttons, zips, thread and other items. My first ‘job’ was working on his stall on Saturdays.
Lived into his eighties
Mothers would often send their children to ‘look at the toys’ whilst they went shopping, although they were not going to buy anything from him, which sometimes meant that ‘paying customers’ could not get near the stall. When that happened, he would move slowly along the front of the stall ‘tidying up’, pretending not to know that anyone was there, to clear some space. He was very proud to be known as ‘The Blind Man’ and eventually died in his 80s. His wife and son have now also died, but his daughters are both still alive.
If you remember Maurice and would like to share your memories with us, please do leave a comment below.