Paul Whitelock on Newport Market
Well the Market was interesting because my father didn’t buy a lot in the Market. He sold a bit but he did buy and when you think about it, some farmers weren’t that well educated and my father left school when he was 14, the same as me but he’d be buying a pen of pigs, they’d be sold … the price per pig, so £1.13 or whatever, or it could even be in guineas.
There would be 13 pigs in a pen and he’d have so much money in his pocket and no more, and he’d fix a sum so he was doing a sum which was rising, moving all the time as the Auctioneer was … as the bids came in and the Auctioneer raised the price, he was calculating how much, if he could afford to buy them and those old boys were as sharp as you like.
You could see them huddled … they’d be leaning on their sticks, they’d be leaning on each other’s shoulders, they’d put their hands on the back of the mate and you know, they’d be here, they’d be friends but he’s here bidding with his fingers so his friend can’t see him bidding. He’s hiding his bid behind his friend …
Sandra: And the price is rising …
Paul: … so he can’t see him bidding, yes, and the price is rising (laughs). They were really very, very cunning and they’d appoint a nominee to bid so that others didn’t know it was them buying and the Market was supposed to be run in a straight forward manner but ..
Sandra: There were ways around it.
Paul: … there were a number of dealers and they would buy pretty much anything and split ‘em up afterwards. It was called a ring, and it was illegal but those kinds of things went on (laughs). But the Market was good fun. The particular thing that I remember was the coffee and tea stand. Do you remember it was just inside the door?