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Harry Clifton again

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LANIGAN'S BALL
PADDLE MY OWN CANOE


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GUEST,SteveG 09 Nov 11 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,SteveG 09 Nov 11 - 06:18 PM
GUEST, Sminky 10 Nov 11 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,SteveG 10 Nov 11 - 04:35 PM
GUEST, Sminky 11 Nov 11 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,SteveG 11 Nov 11 - 04:20 PM
Billy Weeks 12 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 11 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,SteveG 04 Dec 11 - 12:51 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 11 - 06:17 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 11 - 06:49 AM
GUEST, Sminky 05 Dec 11 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,SteveG 05 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM
GUEST, Sminky 01 Feb 12 - 11:47 AM
GUEST, Sminky 01 Feb 12 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,SteveG 01 Feb 12 - 04:14 PM
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Subject: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:06 PM

Billy Weekes recently sent me an article on Harry Clifton's life, by the late Dr Kathleen Barker. Reading it rekindled my interest in his life and work and I present one or two thoughts here for discussion.

One interesting anomally, perhaps even irony, is that in his own time he was a very Victorian artiste in that his audiences were very much middle class/respectable and his songs often reflect this, lacking any immorality unlike the songs of the Music Hall proper: And yet of all the artistes/writers of his era c1850-1872 more than any other artiste his songs lasted in oral tradition internationally well into the 20th century. Yes, other writers like Tommy Armstrong of Durham, and the Geordie, Cockney and Scots writers also wrote songs that lasted in tradition but for them it was more localised rather than international.

I here suggest a few reasons for this anomally.
Firstly although he was not of the Music Hall proper he became immensely popular and his sheet music mainly published by Hopwood and Crew sold well and widely. He also toured around Britain and spent long periods in Glasgow, Dublin and Sheffield performing songs set in all the places that he went to. his songs were also popularised (sometimes plagiarised) in America by other artistes. His songs went through a revival in the 1880s well after his death in 1872. he often set his lyrics to already popular tunes like Root's Tramp, Tramp. His great p;opularity in the cities meant much reproduction of his songs by the metropolitan broadside printers. it is probably this last fact that helped most to ensure the songs survived in oral tradition.

More anon.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:18 PM

Another intriguing aspect of his life is we seem to know very little of his family life, his marriage and early life, as no biography was written. He was born in Hoddesdon in 1832 and by the age of 18 he was married and managing the Railway Saloon in Chatham. Although he and his wife split up there must have been children as at least 3 of his descendants posted here the last time he was discussed. He had a daughter by his partner Fanny Edwards (also Fanny)but she died in infancy.

My own guess is that the split occurred in 1866, but this is solely based on the internal evidence in the 3 songs, My Old Wife, My Rattling Old Black Mare and My Mother in Law, all supposedly published in 1866 albeit by different publishers.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 04:58 AM

SteveG

One possible clue to his early life:

Dublin Rotunda Theatre

"In Dublin Mr. Clifton spent much of his early life and in Dublin he has achieved both fame and success. His occasional visits to his old home are always welcome, and the enthusiastic manner in which himself and party have been received during the week will prove to him that he has not been forgotten."

Era Magazine, Sunday, November 6, 1870. Issue 1676.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 04:35 PM

Thanks, Sminky.
Dr Barker's paper was almost wholly based on reports from Era followed up with local newspaper records. He lived in Dublin for a while and similarly in Glasgow. This is a little strange. Perhaps they meant he spent much of his early career in Dublin as he was already married when he went to Dublin. I'll check the dates though.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:39 AM

The first mention of HC and Fanny Edwards together in print that I've found is on 23-4-1865, when they appeared at Bolton Concert Hall at the start of their 'First Grand Tour of England'.

Prior to that, Fanny had appeared solo at South Shields in 1860 and at Glasgow City Hall in 1863. Presumably their paths must have crossed on tour somewhere. Would love to have been a fly on THAT wall!


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:20 PM

Barker found references to them having met in 1862. Billy Weekes was lamenting the fact that there isn't a biog of Clifton. I also think one is well overdue but I'm snowed under with projects at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM

As Steve G says, I feel that the time for a biography and critical catalogue of Clifton's songs is long overdue. From the point of view of Mudcatters he must be one of the most interesting of all pre-1880 music hall/concert party stars.

His facility for writing songs that sounded as though they might have been been adapted from street tradition was outstanding. He was neither the first nor the last to play this game but he did it without the archness of delivery that typified such songs, usually inviting the audience to smile at naivety and laugh at tragedy. Even in his gently humorous songs, Clifton never indulged in send-up

It is not surprising that there is no biography of Clifton. Apart from the often unreliable biogs that appeared in many artist's lifetimes, really good music hall biographies are still quite uncommon.

Chris Beeching's superbly illustrated biography of George Leybourne, 'The Heaviest of Swells', (Volume One' he says!) is a recent example of a new genre, dealing comprehensively with an artist's life, times and songs - and the style - even the pronunciation - of Leybourne's delivery. It is a monumental work of dedicated industry and one hopes see more of its kind.   But Clifton would not, perhaps, be a first choice for many music hall historians.

I think it is safe to say that more information has come to light about the man on Mudcat than will be found in any published reference and it is here that I would expect to see someone take up the task. I'm sorry that Steve can't undertake it, but understand his problem - and I'm certainly not equipped to do so - but is there someone out there who could at least put together a summary of the facts as they are now known from the various Clifton threads, and compile a list of known songs, with descriptions, dates, publishers, Roud refs etc.

It would be a valuable starter.   Anyone?


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 08:27 AM

I would like to let you know that Harry Clifton was my g.grandfather. He did have 4 children from his second marriage to Mary Terry. His previous marriageto Hannah Charton ended when she died. He divorced Mary in 1864 and Fanny Wright Edwards became his common law wife after that. I am trying to trace information on any child that she may have had as I do have a copy of Harry's Will and Codicil, but cannot read a couple of names therein.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 12:51 PM

GUEST,
It would be helpful if you could please identify yourself. We have had at least 3 descendants on previous threads. Are you one of these?

That information you have already given is extremely useful and fascinating. Do you have further information? With so much interest in his life from all sorts of angles it would be useful to link all interested parties and share information. My own main strength is I have a largish collection of original sheet music and I have attempted to date these. We were unaware that Harry had a second wife. It would be interesting to relate the songs he wrote about marriage to specific people, if that is indeed the case, which is what I'd assumed. Do you know the date of his first wife's death and the date of his second marriage?


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 06:17 AM

Steve,

The marriage of Henry Robert Clifton and Mary Ann Terry (formerly Morton) was registered at Sheffield in 1857.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 06:49 AM

.....and the marriage of Henry Robert Clifton and Hannah Eliza Charlton was registered at Bristol in 1854.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 06:54 AM

Sorry, the last two posts were mine.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM

Thanks, Sminky.
The info is beginning to build.
I've always been convinced that HC wrote 'My Rattling Old Black Mare' as a parody on 'My Old Wife and I' after falling out with one of his wives. About the same time he wrote 'My Mother-in-Law'. It might now be possible to put much more meat on these bones. Off the top of my head, if this is the case, Mary Ann Terry looks to have been the victim.


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 11:47 AM

The death of Hannah Eliza Sempleman Clifton was registered at Hull in March 1856. Be sure to take your camera with you Steve ;-]


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 12:33 PM

Sorry - false alarm. She was the only daughter of Mr R. H. Clifton "late Humber pilot".

Source: The Hull Packet and East Riding Times, Fri Mar 21, 1856


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Subject: RE: Harry Clifton again
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 04:14 PM

Too late. By 11.48 I was out roaming the graveyards camera in hand.


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