"The Weekly Pilgrimage, 1930" - a woman standing outside a pawn shop with a bundle of clothes.
Pawning household possessions became a way of life for many poor people. In times of financial hardship, or sometimes simply to tide the family over until the end of the week when the next wage packet was due, all sorts of items could be pledged to the local pawnbroker in return for cash. They included wedding rings, Sunday suits, watches, bibles, bed linen, furniture and even boots and shoes. The pawned goods would be redeemed when the customer had cash to pay off the loan. Unredeemed goods were sold by the pawnbroker at the end of the loan period.
During the Great Depression of the early 1930s it was reported that poor Glaswegians were pledging goods as early as 7.30 am on a Monday morning, so that they could purchase food for breakfast.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
Great Depression, loans, pawnbrokers, pawning, pawnshops, poverty, women