Knife grinder who disliked snowballs

A bowler-hatted knife grinder photographed in Heathfield
A bowler-hatted knife grinder photographed in Heathfield

This ancient bowler-hatted knife grinder was photographed in Heathfield around 1899. He was ca lled ‘Tinker’ Holmwood.

Knife grinding was a vital part of village life in those far off days.

The grinder would go from village to village with his equipment and people would come to him to have their utensils sharpened for a moderate fee.

‘Tinker’ lived in a small cottage at Cade Street, Heathfield. He used to travel to all the villages in this part of Sussex with his barrow and would often be from home nearly a week at a time.

Sometimes boys would be very annoying to him by throwing stones. But he was always a good tempered old chap. He often left his barrow on the spot when he went to bed and no harm came to it.

‘Tinker’s wife ran a little shop. She was known to all about locally in Heathfield as Old Loo Tink.

On May 1, ‘Tinker’ used to come out wearing his knee breeches with a bunch of ribbons at the knees and wearinghis top hat. He was a noted character. Apparently he did not like snowballs!’