Paul Saxton has now been manning his newspaper stall in Crouch End Broadway for 40 years, through rain, wind, sun and snow. In fact, Paul remembers his first day in 1979 for exactly that reason.
“I started on January 2 that year, with my dad,” he told the Ham&High. “It had snowed, and it was bitterly cold. I remember going across to ABC Cafe and getting us some coffees, but it was freezing that day.”
Paul, who is 69, had helped out his dad with paper rounds and running the stall while he was on holiday. The family connection continues, as he believes his dad took it on from his own father after the end of the Second World War.
Paul said: “He’d had the stall as long as I can remember. He had been 65 in August 1978 and said he was going to retire, and that it was mine if I wanted it.
“People at the time were saying to me that I’d be my own boss, and I’d be self employed. I was 29 at the time, and the idea of being my own governor had been quite appealing.”
Since then he’s been getting up at 3.15am, seven days a week, to sell newspapers and magazines to people in Crouch End. Seven Days a Week was the title of a short documentary film made about Paul’s newspaper stand in 2016. Since he moved out of Crouch End to New Southgate a few years ago, he’s followed the same routine – leaving the house at 4.07am to open up the stall just before 5am.
Unsurprisingly Paul has seen some huge changes in Crouch End in four decades, both in terms of people living in Crouch End and the papers they buy. “It’s gone upmarket, massively,” he said. “Muswell Hill and Hampstead used to be the ‘in’ places, and Crouch End was looked down on a bit. You used to have these massive houses cut up into flats, and they’ve been turned back into houses again.