‘Big John’: Another great Norwich character
- Credit: Archant
When I was a boy he always appeared to me as a threatening figure, sitting on his small stool and shouting 'pabor', but I realise now the impression I had then was wrong.
I used to see a man I now know was nicknamed 'Big John' with his large black boots, dark clothes, bowler hat, small round frame glasses and ever constant cigarette in his mouth when out shopping with my mother as a boy.
This impression I had then was wrong, as all his friends, both by writing in and in Derek James' excellent article on him recently, have all described him as a friendly, gentle giant, who would not harm anyone.
I wish I had known that years ago when I always made sure my mother was between me and 'Big John' when we walked past him.
Another character I remember from the same shopping trips with my mother was a man I always called 'the dinner plate juggler'.
My mother, like all the women then, always went shopping on the market and this other character had a stall at the back of the market on the war memorial side that sold various household goods, including a vast range of crockery.
This man could talk the hind legs off a donkey and somehow always managed to gather a crowd to listen to his sales talk.
- 1 Teen slapped with six points on licence - but she can't even drive
- 2 Changes on the way for listed pub after plans given green light
- 3 Mystery over how grotty sofa ended up on garage roof
- 4 City pub 'full of life again' after busy opening weekend
- 5 Vandals smash charity dinosaur trail T.rex and leave kebab in its mouth
- 6 Efforts step up to protect city park from development
- 7 Pupils reach for the rainbow for Norwich Pride Schools Week
- 8 Norfolk cheese restaurant is launching bottomless brunch this summer
- 9 Glimpses of Norwich week 25: a picture a day from a week in our fine city
- 10 Two neighbouring properties go up for sale - and they both need some TLC
The highlight was when he picked up several large white dinner plates and proceeded to throw them in the air, catch them and then do more amazing tricks with them.
The crowd were always expecting the plates to be broken at any minute with the noise they all made when clattering and banging together.
However, I never saw him drop or break one.
Does anyone else remember this character from the back of the market?
David M Coe, Rosebery Road, Norwich.