In January 1900 John Tomlinson of 9, Duke Street, Boston, was summoned for acting as a pedlar without having a certificate. Nothing unusual about this, it was a common thing at that time, but what made this case different was that the defendant, an old man, appeared in court proudly wearing a large blue neck sash, ornamented with gilt stars and other striking devices and carrying a basket containing oranges, boot laces and other articles of commerce. His strange attire had been seen before as old John used to stand and lecture in the Market Place and elsewhere and the sash was associated with the Lord's Day Observance Society.
On being told the charge he said that he had told the police he didn't have a certificate but had got one the same day and he could do no more.
The police said that he was offering for sale oranges and boot laces and when asked if he was hawking he said that he was selling oranges. When asked if he was selling boot laces as well he said that he wasn't but the police said "What have you in there then" to which he replied, "Not laces - not leather ones, anyway".
The police told the court that he was well known for lecturing in the Market Place and old John accused the police of lying about the conversation about oranges and boot laces.
When the Chairman asked old John what he was going to do with the oranges and laces he threw some oranges on the table and said, "Those are oranges, you can have one or two if you like"
Anyway, old John was fined 2 shillings and costs and he thanked the magistrates.
I wish I had a picture to show you of John Tomlinson, what a character!