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Going to Rag Fair

MGM·Lion 15 Feb 10 - 10:45 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Feb 10 - 11:35 PM
open mike 17 Feb 10 - 11:58 AM
Tug the Cox 17 Feb 10 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,henryp 17 Feb 10 - 06:12 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Feb 10 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,999 17 Feb 10 - 11:08 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Feb 10 - 11:36 PM
MGM·Lion 05 May 11 - 12:09 AM
Joe Offer 05 May 11 - 12:14 AM
MGM·Lion 05 May 11 - 12:19 AM
Ruth Archer 05 May 11 - 04:24 AM
Ruth Archer 05 May 11 - 04:58 AM
MGM·Lion 05 May 11 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Obscure Ed 29 Nov 17 - 01:41 PM
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Subject: Going to Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 10:45 PM

On the 'Thames River Songs' thread, someone mentioned Rosemary Lane. I recalled that, according to a note in an edition of Smollett's 'Roderick Random'[1748], that was the original site of the so-called 'Rag Fair', "a squalid place of evil reputation", subject of a song recorded at various times by Frank Purslow, Peter Bellamy and me. My wife and I were most interested to hear a friend of cockney origin, only about 15 years ago, referring to having bought some 2nd-hand clothes at somewhere like Oxfam, as "going to Rag Fair".

Has anyone else come across this phrase as still in current usage?


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 11:35 PM

r


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: open mike
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:58 AM

no, but i was surprised to learn that back in the "olden days" paper was made from cotton...even in a forested country like Sweden, they
did not use wood fiber or pulp for paper, rags were collected to be made into paper.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 12:01 PM

Rag and Bone men collected all sorts junk, but took their name for collecting materials for making paper, and glue.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 06:12 PM

Bank notes are still made from fabric. From Wikipedia;

Cotton paper (also known as rag paper) is made from 100% cotton fibers. Cotton paper is used in banknotes. Modern banknotes are typically made from 100% cotton paper, but can also be made from a mixture of 75% or less flax.[3] Other materials may also be used and still be known as Currency paper. The US dollar is printed on cotton paper.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:38 PM

All this v interesting as to use of rag. But no response yet to the point of my OP question ~ has anyone else actually come across the term "Rag Fair' in current use for a 2nd-hand clothes shop or stall or market, like the one orig in Rosemary Lane as in the song?


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:08 PM

Never heard that term used in either Canada or the US.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:36 PM

Thanks 999. Point is, apart from in the song, my wife & I had never heard it here either ~ until a cockney friend came out with it not that long ago; which makes me wonder [hence this thread] whether anyone else has come across it in current usage. Lack of responses suggests not: but our neighbour must have got it from somewhere.


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Subject: Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 May 11 - 12:09 AM

==="Rag Fair must, one assumes, have been an eighteenth or nineteenth century London second-hand clothing mart. At any rate, it gives an unexpected twist to the tail of this otherwise familiar tale. The song comes from the Hammond & Gardiner manuscripts." Roud index ===

In fact, A note in the Oxford World's Classics edition of Tobias Smollett's Roderick Random [1748] states that Rag Fair was "a squalid place of evil reputation in Rosemary Lane" — another venue beloved of folksingers.

I have heard the term still in use from a Cockney friend to mean any second-hand clothes shop ~ she once said of something she had bought at Oxfam, "I got it at rag fair".

Has anyone else come across the expression still in use in this way? {I asked the same on another thread a year or two ago, but remain curious as to how far the phrase might have survived}.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 May 11 - 12:14 AM

Anyone able to post the lyrics?
this song (click) speaks of Rag Fair, but I don't think it's the song in question.

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 May 11 - 12:19 AM

RAG FAIR

I am a rambling fellow and I rambles up and down;
Without any expectations I rambled London town.
So I went into the Golden Bowl, I called for liquors fine,
She appeared like some angel, her glittering eyes did shine.

I boldly stepped up to her and I gave her hand a squeeze.
She said very softly to me: "You can do just as you please."
Now when we were together, how we did sport and play,
But while that I was sleeping this young girl stole away.

She took my buckskin britches, my gold watch and guineas three,
She ruined me into the bargain—what will become of me?
I curse the very hour, the day that I was born,
The day that I saw London—or any seaport town.

Now the people they was all amazed to see me go so bare
So they gathered up five shilling and they sent me to Rag Fair
But I did not go to Rag Fair, no britches did I buy,
I just ran into a gin shop and bought a bottle of wine.


{It is, btw, much to my interest, by far the most frequently visited song on my YouTube channel - 308 views to date. I am intrigued as to why this might be.}

~M~


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 May 11 - 04:24 AM

19th century description of Rag Fair at Houndsditch

In Birmingham, near the Bullring, was the Rag Market, which probably evolved from a similar place to the one described here. It was still going strong in the 90s, but I suspect it may have disappeared now the are has been redeveloped.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 May 11 - 04:58 AM

Houndsditch and Whitechapel

Petticoat Lane


The term still seems to be in use in places like Honiton and Beaminster in the South West, but in a rather more gentrified incarnation.


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 May 11 - 05:31 AM

Thank you, RTurth. Fascinating. Petticoat Market is still there at weekends, not all that different, tho much cleaner than described here, & now called Middlesex Street iirc.

Anyone else actually heard the phrase in colloquial use nowadays?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Going to Rag Fair
From: GUEST,Obscure Ed
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 01:41 PM

This is an old thread, I know, and this does not answer the question, but I googled for "going to rag fair" and came across a court transcript from the Old Bailey. As they often are, this is fascinating, so I thought I'd share it:

Trial of Elizabeth Selwood, 7th June 1753

A woman is lured into a dodgy house; she is convinced to take off all her clothes; she wakes to find clothes and money gone. The defendants' excuses are equally colourful.

There are other mentions: for example, during the theft of some gloves -- intriguing to hear of a girl ballad singer on the streets: Old Bailey Proceedings, 27th February 1734
And later on the same page, mild torture in the courtroom. But now I'm definitely drifting off the point...


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