Wy'll aal hev hord o' Durham Gaol,
But it wad ye much surprise,
Te see the prisoners in the yard,
When they're on exercise,
this yard is built aroond wi' waals,
Se noble an'se strang.
Wheiver gans in haas te bide their time,
Be it short or lang
O there's ne good luck in Durham Gaol,
There's ne good luck at aal;
what's bread and' skilly for,
Burt just te make ye smaal?
When ye gan inte Durham Gaol
The'll find ye with employ,
They'll dress ye up se dandy
In a suit o' corduroy;
They'll fletch yer a cap wivoot a peak,
An' niver ax your size,
An' like your suit it's corduroy,
An' it comes doon ower your eyes.
The forst month is the worst of aal;
Your feelins they will try
There's nowt but two great lumps o' wood,
On which ye hev to lie.
The after that ye get a bed,
But it's as hard as stanes;
At neet ye dorsen't mek a torn,
For fear ye brek some banes.
Aal kin's o' work there's gannon on,
Upon them noble flats,
Teasin okum, makin baals,
An' weavin coco mats.
When ye gan in ye may be thin,
But they can mek ye thinner,
If your oakum isn't teased,
They're sure to stop your dinner.
The shoes ye get is often tens,
The smaalest size is nine;
They're big enough to mek a skiff
For Boyd upon the Tyne.
An' if ye should be caad at neets,
Just mek yorsel at yem;
Lap your claes aroond your shoes,
An'get inside o'them.
Ye'll get yor meat an' claes for nowt,
Yor hoose an firin free;
Aal you meat's browt te the door-
Hoo happy ye should be!
Thor's soap an' towel an 'wooden speun,
An' a little bairnie's pot;
They fetch ye papers every week
For ye te clean your bot.
-Tommy Armstrong, Source: Thommy Armstrong of Tyneside.,