LONG before the current hoo-ha surrounding the Deposit Return Scheme for plastic and glass bottles, Glasgow ‘weans’ were making a fortune from a similar idea.

According to Times Past regular reader Dan Harris, taking back old ginger bottles for cash was “a way of life” for youngsters in the city.

Dan said: “The publicity given to the Glass Deposit Return scheme has brought back memories of my childhood in Glasgow.

“In the 1930s and 40s, and even later on, returning glass bottles and glass jars was a way of life for youngsters.

“I benefited from it from about the age of seven right through until I had left school.”

Glasgow Times: Dan HarrisDan Harris (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “My paternal grandfather, who lived with us in our tenement room and kitchen, was an iron moulder. On Friday nights, pay day, he would come home from the pub with his carry out, consisting of six bottles of beer. On Mondays I would take the empties back to the pub and get threepence from the barman.

“It was the same with soft drink bottles, filled with ‘ginger' such as lemonade, Irn Bru and so on – we’d take them back empty to the shops and get money for them.”

When he was 13, Dan, from Maryhill, worked as a message boy for the grocery shop his mother managed.

“I worked Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and on a number of occasions I was given empty jam jars instead of a cash tip,” he said.

“I understand that for this proposed modern scheme, the extra charge will be a refundable 20p. My generation could probably have bought more with their tips.

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“There were 240 pennies to a pound back then. The Evening Times and other daily newspapers only cost one old penny in the early 1930s, a big buttermilk dainty (toffee sweet) was only a halfpenny.”

Dan also recalls ‘midgie-rakers’, he explains.

“In those days, rubbish of all kinds was taken to the midden, a small brick building with an open doorway, full of large metal containers,” he said.

“These containers were subjected to raids by midgie rakers, usually wee boys from a different tenement, looking for treasure like empty jam jars or glass bottles.”

He added: “An elderly spinster lived up the next close to us. One day, I was chopping up a wooden crate for firewood for my mum, and this lady spotted me.

“She told me to bring up half of the chopped wood to her, and she would pay me for it. I did so, and she handed me a glass jar as payment.

“I had already been given my weekly pocket money by my mother, so I threw the jam jar in the midden. Unfortunately, Miss X had spotted me from her back window. She leaned out and demanded that I bring the jar back to her.”

When his mother found out what had happened, she was furious.

Glasgow Times:

“My mother was a tiny person, much smaller than Miss X, but she grabbed hold of my wrist and made me go with her to Miss X’s door,” smiles Dan. “There, in no uncertain terms, did my mother demand the chopped wood back.

“Let that be a warning to any young budding entrepreneurs who read this story. Be careful if this proposed Glass Deposit Return scheme becomes a reality. You may be rewarded for all your efforts by being given an empty glass bottle…..”