A mouthful of tacks

“There was Joe Ryan the boot maker and I always used to like going up and getting the shoes when they were being repaired because he always used to have this big leather apron and his shop always smelt beautifully of leather. But he always had a mouthful of tacks and I used to love standing at the counter waiting for our shoes and watch him talking with all these tacks in his mouth. I was fascinated – ‘he’s going to swallow one, he’s going to swallow one’ – he never did. I’ve got a photograph of Joe outside his shop with his then assistant, Jimmy Crimmins who was killed in the war.”

Peggy Stransky, 21 November 2015

Image of Joe Ryan (R) and Jimmy Crimmins (L) outside his shop on Wentworth Street in the late 1930s (note the glimpse of the opposite side of the street in the window reflection). Image provided by Peggy Stransky.