The Summer Walkers, Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland
'"...During the Second World War we were one of the very few families that travelled, so there was good business to be done. By that time Ailidh Dall could no longer make tin, so everything depended on my mother selling round the doors. She took whatever was wanted and needed bringing in - overalls, trousers, shirts, socks, underwear, needles, pins, brushes, combs, frock-coats for the women. All the Highland women wore them then - with the flower patterns on..."
Essie Stewart recalling the kinds of things hawked by her mother, Mary Stewart.
From page 6 of 'The Summer Walkers' by Timothy Neat, Published by Edinburgh.
'The Summer Walkers' is the name the crofters of Scotland's northwest Highlands gave the traveling people—the itinerant tinsmiths, horse-dealers, hawkers, and pearl-fishers—who made their living on the road. They are not gypsies, but are indigenous Gaelic-speaking Scots, who, to this day, remain heirs of a vital and ancient culture.
Thanks to Rhona Ramsay (currently PhD student at Stirling University, studying the material culture of Gypsy/Travellers in Scottish museums) for forwarding the info and also making contact with Essie Stewart. Essie e-mailed me a bit more detial on those house coats:
".. My memory is this, the older ladies wore cross/ over overalls in dark colours and the younger ladies wore much brighter floral coloured overalls still the cross/over type. The frock- coat was just like a button through dress with long sleeves. They could be either dark or brighter coloured. And they were for best, e.g when visitors were coming to call...."