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 Canongate (1996) Edinburgh. 
ISBN 10: 0862415764   ISBN 13: 9780862415761  

'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...."