Window to the Past: Onion Johnny

editorial image

JINGS! He may have been known as Onion Johnny, but this chap from the inter war period in Busby could well have been known as Weeping Johnny if those eye-stinging vegetables are anything to go by.

Not much is known about this character apart from the basics, but he probably received a warm welcome in kitchens throughout Busby.

Itinerant pedlars/workers were fairly common in this period — the names coming from French farm hands who would typically cycle around an area selling produce (hence Onion Johnny).

It is unknown if this French cliche was actually French or not: maybe he was an Onion Jean-ny.

Or, given the Chaplin-esque moustache, perhaps he was an Onion Charlie!

Photo courtesy of East Renfrewshire Heritage Service.