Dustmen – Refuse collectors – how it used to be

photo shared from: Memory Lane UK Facebook page.


Peter Howard… To be fair, back then they were paid quite well, had job security and pensions to look forward to and more importantly didn’t have multiple levels of management telling them what they had to do, treating them like shit and giving them strict timetables

Alan Esdaile… Different world. Yes, agree they are restricted on what they can and can’t do and pick up nowadays and under time pressure. I like the bit about smiling and whistling which I remember well. They seemed to whistle more at Christmas time!

Peter Howard…  I remember just about everyone on the street would give them a present at xmas

Alan Parker…  in the old days Peter, everyone knew the dustman, the coalman, the local bobby, the postman and even the insurance man

Dawn Baker… And….they can never remember where they got the bin from in the first place

Andy Pilkington…  Did it for a few months heavy work,customers used to leave drinks out in the Summer for the bin men,cases of Coke Orange juice [all in date lol],but bin men always had cartons of orange juice,prob reason why many never got ill

John Warner… I didn’t know that you knew my dustman!

Roger Simmonds… Very true!

Tony Davis…  I understand all the difficulties they face but at least they could put the bin back in the right place rather than just throw it back anywhere

Mike Guy… & where exactly is the right place?

Leigh Wieland-Boys…  It’s like playing chess when our bins are ‘returned’ where I live! Takes three moves to get your bin back

Pete Fisher… Summer 1976 (the hot one), Leytonstone E11, worked as a student temp on the bins for 2 months. Hardest and dirtiest job I ever did…old school metal bins, had to swing one up onto your shoulder and carry the other with the other hand, and run after the truck (which never stopped)…job and finish, so mostly done by about 1pm (starting at 6:30am). Often had to have two baths to get clean. Money was quite good, (especially as I was tax exempt as a student), and we collected scrap and even took second hand furniture to the local dealer, so quite a good inofficial weekly cash bonus. We always put the bins back where they belonged BTW.

Gerry Fortsch… I don’t know about you but mostly the lads that take our rubbish away do a bloody good job, for instance I forgot to put the bin out the other week and they came in to the garden to collect it and returned it to it’s place. I can understand how they must get pissed off with some people throwing their rubbish all over the place and expecting some one to clear it up.

Mike Guy… The blokes who collect ours [in Eastbourne] are lovely chaps, helpful, friendly, get on with the job. It’s true they don’t have time to stop for a chat but they aren’t being paid for that, & they are told what to do by whoever pays them. In my experience a worker’s outlook is a reflection of how they feel that they are treated by their management.

Simon Wicker… This meme is a load of rubbish (pardon the pun)

Terry Hardwick… I let them use the toilet in the farm yard. . Problem solved.

Mick O’Dowd… In those days they used to get a tip at Christmas. Maybe that’s why they whistled!

Dave Nattress… Yes, a “back in the day tale”, when I was a young lad, dad always away somewhere in the UK at work and my Mum couldn’t lift the steel bin and nor could I, (which was in the rear yard at the back of the terraced house we lived in for a while), the bin men would come through the house, lift the bin, tip it, and bring it back. No prob. and my Mum would give them a tip at Christmas. as Leigh Weiland-Boys says,(Hi Leigh, hope you are well), you’re lucky now if they return one of your bins back to the correct post-code. progress!!

Dennis Torrance… The old days metal bin how many times did all the rubbish fall out the bottom of it . I just think all these bins now look so ugly outside your house .

Leigh Wieland-Boys… so true Dave! I am well thank you