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Street Scenes early-mid 20th Century


Recollections of newsvendors selling newspapers in the streets

Newsvendor selling newspapers in the street

Newsvendor selling newspapers in the street, 1950s. Detail from a screen shot in an old film.

In the middle of the 20th century newspaper sellers stood in the streets, standing where people would be passing, like at stations. They did a rapid trade, probably far better than newsagents.

When I first remember them in the 1940s, they displayed the day's headlines with chalk on a blackboard.

By the 1950s, the headlines were displayed on sheets of paper often inside a billboard frame. These clearly came already printer from distributors because the headlines for any one type of newspaper were the same for all the newsvendors. However, the writing was always in a font that looked like a rough handwritten script, which is a well-known technique to make what is being publicised stop-press and up-to-the moment.

Newstand for selling newspapers and magazines on the streets in the 1940s and 1950s

Portable newspaper trolley. Detail from a screen shot in an old film

The news­papers and magazines were kept in place with lengths of spring, so that they could easily be pulled out for customers.

The newsvendors called attention to themselves by shouting, "Read all about it! Read all about it".

Some newsvendors sold their wares from portable trolleys like the one in the photo, but I only saw these inside the big stations.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased if you would contact me.

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