Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
If we start to travel west from the cobblers shop (Miller’s) on the corner of Clark Street. Two shops west of him there was one of the three ironmongers stores in Blantyre (Walter Batter’s). This store like most ironmongers stores in the 1930’s sold anything and everything. Again what I can recall most of in this particular store was the smell, it was not unique to this store, but it was unique to the three ironmongers stores.
What the smell derived from I do not know, I suppose it must have come from a concoction of all the other volatile smells in the store, all I do know was it was always present when you visited any of the three ironmongers in Blantyre.
We had a furniture store, grocery store, Fish and chips, and a few small paper and confectionery stores and the always present cigarette and tobacco stores, in the same block which finished at John Street.
The main Cigarettes smoked at this time were named Capstan, Players, and the inevitable ‘Nail In The Coffin’ as it was called THE WOODBINE, the cheapest and the most unhealthiest piece of crap produced as a cigarette for the working class.
Even then everyone including myself knew that they were killers, but once hooked in the ignorance of youth, I think it was even harder to break away from than it is today. I started as a 12 year old in school and after about 100 tries of quitting I managed to break the habit when I was 29 years old.
During the war years it was very hard to find cigarettes for sale, Tobacco was not considered a very important commodity for the war effort, space on ships were more confined to goods that would feed the populace at large and munitions etc. were the most important. This shortage of all goods of course created a black market for nearly everything that was in short supply, but if you had the money it was available at a price.
One of the tobaccos that the government introduced into the economy was called PASHA. This was a Turkish type of cigarette, with a very distinctive Turkish flavour. If you had been smoking say Capstan or Players all of your life and then all you could buy was this one and only type cigarette, life for some, with the war, shortage of descent food, knowing that this could be your last day alive, well it just was not right that if you did have to go, you should be at least smoking a descent cigarette rather than this PASHA muck.
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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