Robert White, 15, Van Driver for Cowborough & Mercer, Grocers, Port Street, Stirling, 1917

Although it was usual for boys to begin their working lives at 14 in the early 20th century, 15 would still have been considered young to take on the responsibility of a vehicle on the road, even if a driving licence was not required. However, by this time in the First World War, all able bodied men not in protected occupations had gone to serve in the forces, leaving employers with the choice of young men or women for many jobs.

Robert is posing for his photograph in his uniform as a delivery driver for Cowborough and Mercer, Family Grocers and Wine and Spirit Merchants, established at Port Street in Stirling in 1840. This was a well-respected local firm with branches in Wallace Street and Forth Crescent as well as in Bridge of Allan and Callander. At this time, it would have been normal to have one’s groceries delivered to the door, very similarly to ordering on line today.