I have noticed that in recent weeks, the Salisbury Market stall selling seafood has been absent from the Maltings. I have enjoyed eating cockles and whelks at Salisbury market since my childhood and I expect readers will remember the little caravan that at one time sold seafood - a business owned and run by the Johnson family?

This business finally came to a close in 2008 but in bygone years there was always someone standing and enjoying a plate of cockles or whelks which as our picture shows, cost the princely sum of 50p a plate!

The business began back in 1919 when Mr Percy Johnson came out of the First World War disabled and was at a loss to know what the future held for him. His step-brother, Mr Herbert Johnson who had a wet fish stall in the ‘Milk Sops’ (that was the name of the path running adjacent to the Blue Boar Row) suggested Percy start a cockle and whelk stall. This he did and the business continued for many years with a caravan replacing the stall for hygiene reasons.

Percy Johnson had the support of his wife Nellie for over forty years until he died in 1977. The business was then taken over by their son Peter at the age of 26 – although he had been attending the market with his parents his whole life and knew the trade well. The Johnson’s lived locally in Ashley Road area.

It was Peter Johnson that I remember selling me cockles at the market and Salisbury fair. He once told me that the cockles and whelks came from Leigh-on-Sea and Kings Lynn twice a week. “I will miss the market but not the travelling” he said on retirement in 2008 and with no one to take over the business, he served up his final plate at Salisbury market after 44 years.