Street Entertainment


Leith Recollections

Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Thank you to Frank Ferri, now living in Newhaven, Edinburgh, for sending his memories of Leith in the 1940s and 1950s.

Frank wrote:


"I remember the old lady that used to sit outside the church next to the Playhouse playing an old gramophone for money, in wind sleet or rain."

Street Singers

"Sunday mornings was the time for the street singer to call and give a performance in Ballantyne Square, touting for penny offerings.

One singer used to paraphrase the lyrics of one song in particular, hand to his right ear and sing:

 “You Stole My Last Woodbine, Aggie”

an arrangement from the old song:

“Loves Last Word is Spoken, Cheree”

or something like that.

Many of these people, in those hard days, would busk at all the picture house queues."

Bands and Parades

"The Salvation Army silver band would play in the square on a Sunday morning, and the Sunday parades of the Life Boys and Boys Brigade with the skirl of their pipe bands were quite an event."


"There was the rag and bone man who came around the street, announcing his presence, and I remember a turban-wearing Asian gentleman named Abie. He would call round the houses with suitcase in hand, selling shirts, ties, women’s underwear, blouses etc.

If you didn’t have cash, you paid at half-crown a week, no documents or agreements were signed."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh:  April 11, 2008


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