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Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(

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DIRTY OLD TOWN


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Dave the Gnome 30 May 18 - 09:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 May 18 - 09:55 AM
The Sandman 30 May 18 - 01:45 PM
Iains 30 May 18 - 02:24 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 May 18 - 04:12 PM
Iains 30 May 18 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Ed 30 May 18 - 05:03 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 May 18 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Observer 31 May 18 - 04:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 May 18 - 04:48 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 May 18 - 05:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 May 18 - 05:53 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 May 18 - 06:25 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 May 18 - 06:44 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 May 18 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Observer 31 May 18 - 07:16 AM
Keith A of Hertford 31 May 18 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Observer 31 May 18 - 07:27 AM
FreddyHeadey 31 May 18 - 07:31 AM
David Carter (UK) 31 May 18 - 07:35 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 May 18 - 08:06 AM
Keith A of Hertford 31 May 18 - 08:49 AM
Iains 31 May 18 - 02:56 PM
Steve Shaw 31 May 18 - 08:10 PM
Dave the Gnome 01 Jun 18 - 04:05 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Jun 18 - 04:06 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Jun 18 - 05:25 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jun 18 - 06:07 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Jun 18 - 06:27 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jun 18 - 07:11 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Jun 18 - 07:32 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jun 18 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 May 18 - 09:50 AM

The gasworks made famous in Ewan McColl's classic song is set to be redeveloped.

Article in the Salford Star

To add insult to injury the council are keeping the wall which they say is mentioned in the song but the gasworks wall is not mentioned at all - It is the gasworks croft and the factory wall!

There are plenty of things can be done with the gasometers to re purpose them some of which are detailed in this Google Image Search but knowing Salford council (otherwise known as Peel Holdings Lackeys) the land will have already been sold and have planning permission approved for yet more un-affordable flats.

I can't find a campaign or even a partition but I doubt it would make any odds. Still, Ewans song lives on. I guess if the council could sell that as well, they would!


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 May 18 - 09:55 AM

Oh - Found one.

Save the Gasworks

My old mate Tony's work.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 May 18 - 01:45 PM

signed


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Iains
Date: 30 May 18 - 02:24 PM

D the G
ammo for awkward questions.

They were not called dirty old towns for nowt!

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/dublin-s-toxic-gasworks-material-could-end-up-as-part-of-dutch-road


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bawtry_gasworks_contamination


http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.528.4496&rep=rep1&type=pdf


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 May 18 - 04:12 PM

They were not indeed, Iains and I well remember the yellow Salford smogs of the 1950s and coughing up multi coloured phlegm - Yuk! The site in question however is being demolished for redevelopment so I suspect that remediation is either not required or being allowed for in whatever costings have been done. Bear in mind that it is Peel Holdings that dominate development in Salford, as well as seemingly control the council. You can be pretty sure that they will have got their sums right.

The first link didn't work BTW.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Iains
Date: 30 May 18 - 04:46 PM

D the G this bit should really be below the line. However. The idea of contaminated ground did not really kick off until the 90's. The science of determining severity of contamination and remediation is evolving by the day. There must be many brownfield sites redeveloped on top of a nightmare, escaping methane from landfill sites redeveloped as housing to name but one. I could name a few. As time goes by contaminated sites are subjected to far greater precision of investigation and more invasive procedures. As more is known, more has to be done, partly driven by legislation, partly by potential public liability concerns. As a result remediation costs also escalate. Could be making it a museum would make greater economic sense.
As a total aside I worked on an investigation for a sewer tunnel in stoke. We were happily drilling a hole in the street straight into coal workings a couple of meters down.
We has a positive reading for methane from the casing head and got out the gas board and coalboard. Both denied it was theirs. Anyway they had technicians putting a sniffer in the airbricks below the suspended floors of some adjacent houses. Ended up the police evacuated a good chunk of the street.
That made us really popular. We also had some holes to drill in a graveyard. With one we were chiseling on wood at two meters. We abandoned that one. We were in there for a couple of weeks and has to vanish everytime there was a funeral. I should really try and put some of the more entertaining moments in a book or songs.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 May 18 - 05:03 PM

That's a real shame, Dave.

I fondly remember driving past, and thinking of the song, every Thursday afternoon a couple of decades (blimey!) ago.

But, I suppose times have to change. Nostaligic as I feel, I'm certainly not going to sign an Avaaz petition.

They make it clear that "by taking action you agree to receive Avaaz emails". The small print also states that they reserver the right to give your details to third parties. I may sound paranoid, but no thanks.

Anyway, as you say, it won't make any deal of difference.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 18 - 03:17 AM

Avaaz is not so bad, Ed, and you can change mailing preferences but, yes, I doubt if it will make much odds.

Interesting piece here Iains. I think we can say that not all old industrial sites can be treated in the same way. Unless of course building on these becomes the new building on Indian burial sites horror genre :-)


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:08 AM

It would appear that it has become the preferred option to redevelop brown field (i.e. former industrial/commercial) sites for housing instead of building in the greenbelt. If that can be done all well and good in certain locations it may well result in much needed regeneration.

Having mentioned the gasworks croft and the gasworks wall, any news about the old canal? Is it still possible to dream a dream by it?


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:48 AM

Bits of the old canal (Manchester, Bolton and Bury) are still there, Observer but none near the gasworks. You have to head west towards Bolton or Bury to find most of it. The bit between Kearsley and Little Lever is being restored including the unfortunately named nob end locks :-)


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 May 18 - 05:47 AM

According to the Manchester Evening News there's been a reprieve.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 18 - 05:53 AM

Just the wall, Nigel. And they got that wrong. It states Dirty Old Town, opens with the lyric: “I met my love by the gasworks wall"

Which it doesn't. I did mention that in my opening post.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 May 18 - 06:25 AM

The write up says:
Ewan MacColl knew it well. His ode to Salford , Dirty Old Town, opens with the lyric: “I met my love by the gasworks wall/Dreamed a dream by the old canal.”

It later says:
MacColl wrote different versions of Dirty Old Town.
In another, the opening lyric is: “I found my love by the gasworks croft.”
The croft was a piece of land next to the gasworks.


So it appears either version is valid, as both are by MacColl
They also seem to disagree with you about the spelling of his stage name.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 18 - 06:44 AM

I did misspell or mistype his name. My apologies.

I met my love by the gasworks croft
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
Kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

That is the accepted first verse as written by Ewan and sung by everyone I know. The remainder of the song is notable for not having any rhyming lines. Having gasworks wall and factory wall ending lines in the same verse is both against that principle and pretty poor writing. Something MacColl is not guilty of.

Feel free to carry on with your pedantry and insisting that you are right. I shall not be taking any notice.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:01 AM

I was not insisting that I was right, just that the newspaper covered all the angles.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:16 AM

This is all starting to sound a bit like Trigger's broom in "Only Fools and Horses". There's a campaign to save something that doesn't link to the song at all! There is no mention in the song itself of the Gasworks per se.


The Gasworks Croft has in all probability been developed and built on years ago.

It wasn't the Gasworks wall in the song at all, which is what they say they are retaining. It was some unidentified factory wall that has in all probability been knocked down ages ago.

And nobody has the remotest idea what bank of which canal anybody used to dream by.

Bit of a pointless exercise. Couldn't really care less what use they put this derelict land to but housing seems to be the priority at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:20 AM

To be fair, the song does not celebrate these sites, but calls for their destruction.
Like the hellish townscapes of the Dalesman's litany, perhaps we should celebrate their passing.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:27 AM

Excellent point Keith A of H.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:31 AM

In "The Essential EM Song Book"
2001 Peggy Seeger
it has

I found my love by the gasworks croft,
Dreamed a dream by the old canal;
Kissed my girl by the factory wall.
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

'c' 1951 Robbins Music c/o EMI


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 31 May 18 - 07:35 AM

I agree with you there Keith. There is nothing romantic about dirt and poverty, and Maccoll would have celebrated their elimination.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 18 - 08:06 AM

I guess that must be right, Freddy. Apologies once again but the point in question was whether it was a gasworks wall or croft :-)

He would indeed have welcomed the change and taking the axe to the dirty old town. In real life though the dirty old town has not existed for, what, 40 odd years? The point being that Salford council, having been rid of the images in the song, now do not seem to know when to stop. There is a huge difference between cleaning up your environment and removing all traces of your past. Which really brings me back to the point. If the ironwork can be re-purposed and used for something else, housing for instance, why not do it?

Out of interest, I did a rework of it some time back. Not very good but I found it an interesting exercise and it brings us back to being a music thread :-)

New Old Town

It goes on to have bits re-written by committee here :-)


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 31 May 18 - 08:49 AM

Good rework.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Iains
Date: 31 May 18 - 02:56 PM

D the G I think we can say that not all old industrial sites can be treated in the same way.

Very true, some have become major tourist attractions.
Mynyyd Sygin
Lechwydd Slate quarry
Morwellham Quay
Big Pit to name but a few.

We need a few more Fred Dibnahs to select and help preserve various buildings and artifacts from our industrial past. Some more industrial museums would not go amiss, it would be a tragedy to totally lose the physical reminders of that heritage.
A link for those the other side of the pond:
Fred Dibnah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etna1lEnsYo


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 May 18 - 08:10 PM

Well I'm not going to enter into disputes about the precise lyrics, but a number of points raised so far in this thread resonate with me. First, me mum and her family were solid Salfordians. She was born in Silk Street. My great uncle Jimmy Curliss, who was killed at Gallipoli, is remembered on a plaque in Salford Cathedral (though his surname is spelled wrong). He's somewhere on the Helles Memorial too but I haven't been able to track down the inscription. Even after my mum's family had moved to Whitefield, into a house now lost to the development around Morrisons, my grandad worked in Salford docks, as he'd done all his working life, and the Salford pubs (especially the ones that had Tetley bitter) were his lifelong stomping grounds. My gran worked in the Halls sweet factory. They don't make 'em like that any more.   

I know the Bury-Bolton bit of the canal very well. In 1973 I studied the stretch from the middle of Radcliffe all the way to Bury and made extensive notes on the flora, which I still have, in my own fair hand. My mum and dad still live just a stone's throw from the canal as it nears Elton reservoir, so I still get to see it. Water soldier has taken over large stretches since I did my survey, but apart from that not much has changed. As far as I know, royal fern still pokes out of the towpath wall in Radcliffe and Bury and the lemon-scented buckler fern still grows near where the Farmers Arms (more recently, Benny's nightclub) used to be next to the canal.

You mention Nob End, Dave. In fact, the flat area there, next to the river, is a botanical legend. It is an area on which alkaline waste was dumped for years in Victorian times. It now harbours an amazing flora, totally untypical of that bit of Lancashire. I went there for the day with the legendary Vicar Shaw (no relation) from Oldham, a great buddy of Roy Lancaster (who I've also met), a botanist of the kind you don't get any more. The reverend gentleman, an earthly type of chap, called me his "Radcliffe eye." We wrote many letters to each other for several years, and lamentably, I seem to have lost them all. The Rev was an ebullient man whose enthusiasm for plants, especially weird aliens that had somehow made their way to Britain, was very catching. Roy Lancaster said that he wasn't really a vicar who liked plants - he was a botanist who was also a bit of a vicar. One spring day, when the Rev was in his mid-70s, a brilliant botanist from Darwen called Peter Fentem and I took the vicar up Penyghent to see the purple saxifrage in bloom, an alpine that he'd never seen. Peter and I continued to the summit, as you do, once we'd located the plant in all its glory, but Vicar Shaw wouldn't come up with us. "I've come up 'ere ter see t'purple saxifrage, not bloody view from t'top o' t'mountain!"


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 04:05 AM

What a coincidence! I am planning a trip up Penyghent on Sunday! Whether the old legs will carry all this weight to the top is a different matter but I am taking a daughter or two with me so if I get stuck they can roll me back down to the bottom :-)


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 04:06 AM

...about as far from a dirty old town as we get BTW. :-)


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 05:25 AM

I know. Apologies for the meander!


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 06:07 AM

"spelling of his stage name."
His mane, you mean
Unecessary pettiness Nigel
Wonder when people are going to refer to Bob Dylan as a "stage name" - never, I should imagine
It is highly unlikely that he ever used the term 'Gasworks Cross" - it never appears in his recordings and published versions of the song
"Croft" was a term used by MacColl regularly and appeared on the 'Streets of Song album he made with Dom Behan

On the croft, on the croft.
Where we played pitch-and-toss,
And the copper come and chased us away,
So we hit him on the head
With a bloody big lump of lead
And the sly little beggar run away

The song was made as an interval filler for a Theatre Workshop production
Peggy said that Ewan's attitude to Salford was very much a love/hate one - he seldom talked with warmth about it, but in a film he described walking the streets with a Jewish socialist friend and imagining Frederick Engels taking the same route (much of 'Conditions of the Working Class in England' drew its inspiration from there).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 06:27 AM

"spelling of his stage name."
His mane, you mean
Unnecessary pettiness Nigel


I made no comment about his hair.

I specified 'stage name' to make a necessary distinction. His birth name would be a mater of record. Stage names are not always consistent. For example, David Bowie admitted uncertainty as to how his adopted surname should be pronounced.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 07:11 AM

Typo - surely not!!
"His birth name would be a mater of record. "
You mean "matter" of course
Only dyed-in-the-wool folkies with a chip bother to mention his name change
Sorry - I have no desire to continue this - put my comments down to a literally expressed sigh of exasperation
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 07:32 AM

Yes, 'mater' was a typo. I make them (very) occasionally.

Sorry - I have no desire to continue this - put my comments down to a literally expressed sigh of exasperation
To which I can only respond with a sigh of relief.


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Subject: RE: Dirty Old Town gasworks going :-(
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 18 - 07:43 AM

Meant to ask - is there any disagreement as to how MacColl's name should be "pronounced" ?
I've only ever heard it pronounced one way
Jim Carroll


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