Mansfield Market in the Good Old Days

All the fun of the fair - roundabout example
D Johnson
Divits Ice Cream van, recalled by many people
D Haslam

After adding a comment to the Handley Arcade page this encouraged me to ask the question  ‘what has happened to the market?’

It was considered one of the best in the county if not further a field.,Traders actually queued for a stall  that was not allocated to regulars, or failed to turn up, unlike now when many stalls are not occupied.  It is pitiful compared to the days during and after the war.

As a child and teenager I have fond memories of those days – the Roundabout and the ‘Hot Peas’ outside the Dial and Market Hotel.  Jacks Snacks either by the van or stall against the Bentick Memorial. Also the stalls on Westgate and in particular Blackburn’s Sweets near to the monument on Westgate, (I seem to remember they came from Huthwaite). And of Course Scotts and Divits Ice Cream Vans.

My Mother would always go to the Market very early first call being for our sweet ration then she would leave us in the queue at the Granada for the Tupenny Rush. She would continue her shopping and meet us when we came out.

It is funny but life was so much better in those days, If only we could turn the clock back, Today it seems if our existence is now controlled by AVARICE


 With acknowledgment to the people who added these photos to my Forest Town Collection – P Marples

Comments about this page

  • Hi I am Florence Divito’s (later married name Weatherall) Grandson. Florence was daughter and one of 19 children of John the ice cream man. I’m interested in finding any relatives. Especially looking for Florence’s twin daughters Ann & Elizabeth Weatherall who were my fathers half sisters who I have only recently become aware of following a long search. My father was adopted so did not carry the Divito name.
    Tragically Florence was murdered in 1951, still the longest unsolved murder case in Notts.

    By Adam Boucher (14/06/2022)
  • My husband’s grandfather came to UK from Italy in the early 1900s and I’m told he would visit Divit’s ice cream van at the cattle market where he would speak in Italian to the man serving ice cream. It’s thought that there was some connection.
    On searching birth records I have found that his relative’s second wife was in fact a Theresa Di Vito and that could be the connection. Leslie Kilpatrick, I can find the record and send you the link if you ever read this.

    By C Emery (16/02/2021)
  • I hope that someone will read my comment and have more insight on my Divito family. I am Marie Divito’s granddaughter. She was a war bride and the only one of 19 siblings to end up in the US. She had one child, my mom Roma, named after her youngest sister. From what I understand my Italian great grandparents moves to England from Italy and dropped the “O” from their last name. My grandmother passed away near 10 years ago. I would just like more info or pictures of the Divit family or ice cream business.

    By Leslie Kilpatrick (20/08/2020)
  • Hi Neil, regarding Scotts horses, the white one was called Silver for some reason, the other one I cant remember, but they where both kept in a paddock at the bottom of Ashfield Street, Skegby. The owner I think was Mr Hill senior, who rode one of the carts, his son owned Scotts hardware shop on Mansfield Road Sutton, not far from my favourite ice cream maker, Mr Downs, he only had a trike with a cooler attached, to sell his wares, but you could buy a sucker or cornet for 1d, if you where richer you could purchase a 2penny or even a 3penny cone, heady days.

    By Ian (01/09/2019)
  • What was Scottie’s hoss called circa 1960 ish?
    I think a bloke called Vic Fox drove the horse and cart

    By Neil (11/08/2019)
  • Happy days of the roundabout , always promised after carrying all the shopping bags around the town and in and out shops that a ride would come my way ! “Hurry up ” would be call to Mr Frogatt we got to catch the bus to Woodus happy days .




    By Former Woodus Lad (24/05/2015)
  • I remember Mr Frogatt in his dark beige foremans smock and flat cap turning the handle of his roundabout, I always used to go on that ride until I suppose I got to big to go upstairs on the bus he had on the roundabout, what small things we used to be content with. Those fantastic sausage cobs near the market centre memorial, if they had been exported all over the world as “Big Jack Mc Snacks”, I’m sure Macdonalds would never have got a look in!

    By Paul Robinson (06/03/2014)
  • Re: Divits Ice Cream. I thought their Mansfield factory was on Garden Road/Lane between Belvedere St and Dallas St across the top of Radford St. Memories in the summer of people at Divits lowering tubs of ice cream on string into our Garden at 47 Dallas St. Up the street lived Mr Allison who was a senior saleperson at John Manners. There’s a link! Happy memories.

    By Lionel Townsend (02/07/2013)
  • Re Ice cream, personally I always prefered Divits to Scotts to me it was and had a far better taste. Regarding Manners shop I have two vivid recollections, one was if you needed a school uniform that was the best place to go they stocked them all.  Secondly it had a fantastic rocking horse whict was a Must.

    By Malcolm Raynor (30/06/2013)
  • How nice to hear from and have news of, some of the Divit family. My mother knew your Gran quite well, and I think I can remember your Grandfather in my minds eye as a small gentleman who always wore a white pinny and a flat cap, also spoke his English with a broken Italian accent. A lovely man with a good eye for business. What a good family the Divits were in my time, everyone of them a hard worker. Was Marie the youngest daughter? Best wishes to you, and please tell any of your relations there still people from Mansfield who still remember the Divits. Alan

    By alan curtis (27/01/2013)
  • Sorry missed the remark by peter, that he was told Mr Divit came from Italy. I can comfirm this, he fought for the British in the first world war, when the second war started he was to old to fight. he was told to report to the police as an Italian. They told him it might by wise to chance his name as it was to Italian, thats how it finished up as Divit. He was an ice cream maker who I have been told won medals between the wars for his ice cream.

    By a.divit (27/01/2013)
  • I can comfirm the comment that Mrs Divit had 24 children is not correct, in fact she had 19, of which my father George (sometimes called Charlie, after Charlie Chaplin, because of his walk, due to wearing a leg iron in his youth), was the third oldest.

    By a.divit (26/01/2013)
  • George Divit, who was one of the ice cream sons, worked in the pit during the winter, he moved to Redditch as an armaments fireman during the war. He married there and had two children. He died at the age of 59. His children and grand children still live there.The sister called Marie married and moved to the USA, she was still alive two years ago, her grand children were over in the U.K. then.

    By a.divit (26/01/2013)
  • Did you and your friend get free ice creams Alan? My dad lived on Harrington St. He was born in 1907 and knew quite a few of the Divit family when he was young. I think they also had scrap yard full of old cars near Mansfield station near where the Newark and Southwell buses started from I’m sure it belonged to a Divit.

    By Peter Bowler. (22/01/2013)
  • I wonder what vintage the Divits ice cream mobile kiosk is. I could have bought one from it in the 1950s when I was a kid. The four digit telephone number isn’t much of a clue there were plenty of still in use in the 1960s. My dad used to say the Divit family originally came from Italy, their name being Divito (I think it was pronounced Diveeto). I don’t know if they did or not but the Italians are expert ice cream makers so that’s perhaps why their ice cream was so nice.

    By Peter Bowler (21/01/2013)
  • Old Mother Divit, had so many children,she didn’t know what to do.She didn’t live in a shoe, she lived on Princess Street in the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s. With having so many children, I guess making Ice Cream was their way of feeding them all. I think, and it’s only a distant memory, their Ice Cream Factory, was at the top of Quaker Lane.I knew quite a few of them, and as I have said before, a friend of mine used to go out with the young lady of the Divit family who sold the Ice Cream from that kiosk.Many is the time we have stood there.

    By alan curtis (21/01/2013)
  • I will have to stop reading this site! too many happy memories I’m afraid, not like today. Anyway, I recall the boiled sweets stall in the little market, my favourite was the fishes! red and yellow and white in a fish shape, never seen them since! Always had a ride on the roundabout when a child, then mushy peas from the pea stall, the best I have ever had. I’m about the same age as you Peter but we never realised we were poor, (by todays standard) we really did have the best time, even if we had to endure the school dentist on Rock Hill Gdns. That put many a child off dentists for life.

    By Gordon Ball (16/01/2013)
  • I clearly remember Blackburn’s sweet stall on Westgate market, Little Market as we used to call it. One occasion I remember well even after 60 + years was seeing some pieces of rock on the stall, it must have been strawberry flavour because there was a strawberry running through it like you got Skegness running through rock from the seaside and I really wanted some. I think I’d have been 4 at the time 1951 or early 1952 and sugar was still on ration, worse still mother had used the ration coupons I was inconsolable. It sounds trivial now but the country was bankrupt the result of the Second World War everything dull and drab so those pieces of brightly coloured rock shone like jewels on Mr Blackburns stall. As Malcolm Raynor says things were a lot simpler then but I wouldn’t like to go back to those austere times even though I have lots of happy memories from my childhood, pure nostalgia, but even thats not what it used to be is it?

    By Peter Bowler (21/12/2012)
  • Do you remember the clothes shop directly behind Blackburns sweet stall on West Gate I think it was Manners, on the upstairs floor was the school uniform department. Most Mansfield school boys like me in the 1950s and early 60s will recall being taken there usually by their mothers in the last week of the summer holidays for a new school uniform or to replace bits of it you’d grown out of or worn out. Another thing I remember about upstairs at Manners there was a very large rocking horse, there I imagine to stop kids getting bored whilst their parents were waiting to be served.

    By Peter Bowler (21/12/2012)
  • I would go into town on a Saturday with my Dad, we would go to the pictures to see what ever was on, then I would get a ride on the roundabout, followed by mushy peas. We would get sweets from Blackburn’s to take home for mum. Saturday was my treat day with Dad, I enjoyed every one.

    By Pam Kitchen (05/06/2012)
  • On Market Days there was a children’s roundabout outside the Market and Dial Public Houses which was manually operated and owned by a Mr Frogatt. The operation was done with him turning what appeared to be a turning handle from an old fashioned mangle which most people owned before they became more sophisticated and electric. Nowadays we have spin dryers built into washing machines not the old tubs and ponches.

    By Malcolm Raynor (12/04/2012)
  • Alan, yes we did grow up around the same time. Regarding Mrs Divit, I agree it is highly unlikely she had that many children.

    By Malcolm Raynor (28/02/2012)
  • Hello Malcolm, I guess we shared the same growing up years. My t’upenny rush was the Hippodrome on a Saturday afternoon with a bag of peanuts to munch. I too was a Grenadier, it was just after the name changed from the Plaza to Granada. The showing of films had changed from Saturday afternoon to Saturday mornings. Sorry, but I thought it was 6d to go in. I remember the Divits well, and a good friend of mine used to go out with the young lady who served in that kiosk. We always did well for ice cream. I believe that they lived on Princess Street, and I could never believe the story that Mrs Divit had 24, yes “twenty four” children. Still can’t believe it!

    By alan curtis (25/02/2012)
  • Further to the Above - Scott’s Ice Cream was Sutton-in-Ashfield, I believe Redcliffe Street was the base, whereas Divits was on Westfield Lane near the bottom of Somersol Street in the vicinity of WASS’s bus garage some where near the Redgate Public House, which was built after the War. I think my memory has not failed me. I always preferred Divits – Scotts always had a Different Taste but most of the time you had whichever was available.

    By Malcolm Raynor (24/02/2012)

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