Razor grinder was a town character

LOCAL characters exist in every town and village. We see them regularly. They often have bizarre behaviour or clothing that make them stand out from the crowd.

David Kindred

LOCAL characters exist in every town and village. We see them regularly. They often have bizarre behaviour or clothing that make them stand out from the crowd. Different generations can list those with eccentric, but usually harmless, behaviour that makes them memorable.

I have been sent a photograph by B Double, of Gleneagles Drive, Ipswich, taken by Ipswich photographer William Vick, of Mr Warn a “razor grinder” who must have been a memorable chap even in Victorian Ipswich, looking like somebody from a Charles Dickens story.

I can recall when curious characters with grinding and sharpening wheels driven by the back wheel of a cycle would knock on your door and offer to sharpen knifes and gardening equipment. Razor grinders along with many other trades have gone. A look through a street directory from the 1920s shows some of the other trades we have lost.

It would be difficult in Ipswich town centre to find a saddler, blacksmith, sack maker, typewriter specialist, professor of music and singing, organ builder, gunsmith, cutler, cooper, church bell founder or a brick and tile maker today. Thank goodness William Vick took the trouble to take a photograph of Mr Warn and his wonderful cart.

- Do you remember the travelling knife grinders? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star or e-mail info@kindred-spirits.co.uk