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A true story from a “Daily Mirror” reader
Following on from my last blog (Something in the City) and I found this charming little story, by a pavement artist who had written into the Daily Mirror newspaper in 1935.
I Am a Pavement Artist
Six water-colours mounted on wooden frames constitute my stock-in-trade.
I do not follow this profession from choice, but prefer it to the dole. Sometimes I do well, but the more lucrative the “pitch,” the more quickly I am moved on, owing, of course, to the traffic. I put my drawings outside a museum building one day, and within half an hour had received 30s.—then the police took a hand!
I lodge right at the other end of the town and leave my drawings in a little restaurant every evening. At this restaurant I get my meals, which vary according to the day’s takings. Sometimes it’s a twopenny plate of faggot and peas, at others a good blow-out of sausage and mashed and pudding.
One day last summer I decided to try the seaside as a paying concern, so went to Clacton-on-Sea on a bus and displayed my exhibition just behind the sea-front. After seven hours I had collected 6d., and just as I was packing up a well-dressed lady opened her bag and presented me with — a three-halfpenny stamp!
Wet days are blank days, as my drawings are not waterproof; but, wet or fine, I religiously leave my digs at 8.30a.m. to reappear in the late evening. To my landlady I am “Something in the City,” and my great dread is that someday she may see me on my pitch, I have been at the job for some time, but shall never get over the feeling of utter humiliation which possesses me when I lean my drawings against a wall or railing and put down my hat.
Perhaps this will be better understood when I mention that I left the Army with warrant rank, and have been in turn office superintendent, commercial traveller and draughtsman. Average takings? About 6s. daily.
Published in the Daily Mirror (Saturday 16th Feb, 1935)
Researched by Philip Battle