Nostalgia: Fresh this morning

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THERE were smiles aplenty back in January 1972 as these hardworking delivery men heaved pallets of freshly picked cabbages into the city’s Fruit Market.

Destined to fly off the shelves, eager shoppers would arrive in their droves to the Market Street attraction to stock up on much needed ingredients to keep themselves and their families fed until the next trip.

Delivery men with a pallet of cabbages outside the Fruit Market in Market Street, January 1972. Picture: George Smith

Delivery men with a pallet of cabbages outside the Fruit Market in Market Street, January 1972. Picture: George Smith

Such busy markets were popular right across the Lothians before the rise of the modern-day supermarket marked their gradual decline.

But in Haddington – whose historic open air market makes its return today – it was the onset of the First World War which is thought to have sounded the death knell for the once bustling event.

Traders in the East Lothian town have vowed to bring back the magic of the market, however, as part of a campaign to breathe fresh life into the area. More than 20 stalls were expected to take to the high street this morning, following on from the success of Haddington Farmers’ Market which was launched in 2000.

It is unlikely the venture will offer major competition to the giant supermarket chains of the 21st century, but organisers are hopeful people will support a return to a more local way of trading.

Markets were once a way of life for so many people growing up across the Lothians, including long-serving fruit and vegetable seller Willie Blues - pictured above - who spoke to the Evening News back in August 1986 about his trade.

“It’s a good life, never dull,” the Infirmary Street trader said. “Out in all weather, summer and winter. You’ve got to, it’s either that or starve.”

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