shopping in malta
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Video ID: 998

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When the shops came to you

Description

They sold everything from eggs and fish to ironmongery and second hand clothes.

This remarkable archive footage reveals the daily lives of street sellers and their customers in Malta.

The film was shot by a camera crew documenting Maltese life in the 1950s and 1960s.

At that time there were literally hundreds of street sellers, from Marsaxlokk to Marsalforn, each peddling their wares usually from a barrow or donkey cart. Others sold their products in stationary stalls in Valletta.

Their most profitable times were Saturday and early Sunday morning, as newly paid shoppers wanted to buy Sunday dinner. The busiest days were usually Wednesday and Fridays, when fresh fish was available.

Sellers offered a huge range of items such as pig’s trotters, horse meat, paraffin, pots and pans, lemons, baked potatoes, cough drops, second-hand musical instruments and even live lambs and rabbits ready for slaughter.

The lives of these street traders, eking out a precarious living, are almost unimaginable to us now. Yet they were such an integral part of the fabric of 18th, 19th and early 20th century life in Malta.

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