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Old ladies with tartan shopping trolleys

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Old ladies with tartan shopping trolleys

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Old ladies with tartan shopping trolleys

No-one can pinpoint exactly when two-wheeled wicker baskets fell out of favour, and were replaced on England's pavements by four-wheel tartan shopping trolleys. Or, indeed, why they are tartan. But the concept of an unofficial army of elderly (usually female) "tartan terrors", who wield their trolleys in a "don’t-mess-with-me" manner, is now firmly, if a little unfairly, entrenched in our collective consciousness. "Yes, actually I do own the pavement," runs the caption to a recent cartoon featuring a tartan trolley and its driver.

The four-wheeled trolley’s sturdy design makes it popular with many elderly people, who may have walking problems, as it neatly combines the functions of support and freight carrying. And believe us, if you think tartan trolleys look a bit silly, stop to think how daft you look with three bulging plastic carrier bags in each hand.


Your comments

Old ladies with tartan shopper trollies are a ubiquitous part of the landscape in every town centre or high street. I have never seen them outside the UK so they are not migratory and seem an indigenous species.

Teresa Marron

The fourwheeled version is unique to Great Britain, in Germany we just have the boring two wheeled species. Here they are called Hackenporsche (Heel-Porsche). Lovly to see them! Cheers, Myriam

As a recent 'pensioner' I have lived in dread of the tartan trolley! For years now I've been rolling my old auntie's wicker trolley back and forth to the shops...but it is dying, it is so old. Believe me, I have tried everywhere to replace it and have discovered that no one makes them any more? Why on earth not, when they are so much in demand, selling secondhand to bidders on e-bay at alarmingly high prices. Is there no enterprising manufacturer out there who wants to make a fortune? I'd do it myself if I had the wherewithal!
Stella Cattini

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry