The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #2828514
Posted By: Steve Gardham
02-Feb-10 - 05:45 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Re GUEST 21.11.09
If Malcolm was here he would settle this one. He may have already done so on one of the other threads. The link with St James' anything appears to be a later addition if it occurs at all in any versions in Britain earlier than 1900. 'The Buck's Elegy', the earliest broadside cmid18thc is set in Covent Garden. The earliest mention of a hospital is on early 19thc broadsides and it's 'The Lock Hospital' est 1746 at Hyde Park Corner for the treatment of venereal diseases. After that the term 'Lock Hospital' became generic for these sorts of hospitals.
Later broadsides mention 'The Royal Albion' which is probably a corruption of 'Royal Albert' the Royal Albert Dock in London opening in 1880. But there are various 'Royal Albion' Hotels notably in Brighton.
In The Buck's Elegy the narrator is lamenting the death of his comrade and wishing he'd taken some form of remedy (pills of white mercury) as he has obviously been with the same girls and realises he's next for the chop.