Barrows to hire for a tanner a day

Photo:Diplock's Barrow Hire eventually became Diplock's Market

Diplock's Barrow Hire eventually became Diplock's Market

Photo from Jackie Fuller's collection

Photo:Sketch of what a barrow looked like

Sketch of what a barrow looked like

Drawing by David Sawyers, North Laine resident

Used by 'totters' or 'rag-and-bone' men

By Jackie Fuller, North Laine resident

In North Road a new market opened during 2010 called 'Farm'. But from 1920-75 this yard was known as Diplock's Barrow Hire. It provided a form of transport used daily by a great number of people.

Used by the 'totters'

You could hire a barrow or handcart there with which to transport their worldly goods. A number of the regular customers were what were called ‘totters’ or ‘rag-and-bone men’. They would go round the streets shouting and collecting any item that would earn them a few coppers, including old clothing, bits of furniture and scrap metal. Some of these totters would cover a distance of over 10 miles daily.

Goods and samples for the big stores

Travellers arriving at Brighton Station would hire a barrow to transport their goods and samples to the various stores in the town centre, such as Hanningtons, Vokins, Leesons etc.

A tanner a day

The cost of hiring a barrow was 6d a day (a ‘tanner’). Also provided at the premises were a number of small sheds at half-a-crown a week, where the totters could store and sort out their treasures.

It became Diplock's Market

Eventually the barrows became uneconomic and were disposed of. The yard became Diplock’s Market, with stalls that people could hire. In 1985 Roy Smith, the owner of the premises at that time, reported that he still got people calling to see whether they could hire a barrow.


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 207, November/December 2010; based on an earlier article in No 56, July/August 1985. Also reprinted in No 233, March/April 2015.]

This page was added on 16/12/2010.

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