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Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway

DigiTrad:
RATCLIFF HIGHWAY
RATCLIFFE HIGHWAY


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Ratcliffe Highway (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


Alan of Australia 01 Jul 00 - 10:53 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jan 05 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 21 Jan 05 - 08:13 AM
Snuffy 21 Jan 05 - 03:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jan 05 - 08:21 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 05 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 26 Jan 05 - 10:16 AM
Charley Noble 22 Mar 05 - 09:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Mar 05 - 11:22 PM
Lighter 22 Mar 05 - 11:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Mar 05 - 07:03 AM
Charley Noble 23 Mar 05 - 07:52 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Mar 05 - 04:01 PM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 05 - 10:37 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 05 - 07:07 PM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 05 - 08:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 05 - 10:08 PM
Kevin Sheils 25 Mar 05 - 05:08 AM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 05 - 09:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Mar 05 - 05:42 PM
Charley Noble 13 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM
stallion 13 Jan 08 - 01:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jan 08 - 07:30 AM
Anne Lister 14 Jan 08 - 08:32 AM
pavane 14 Jan 08 - 08:42 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Neil D 14 Jan 08 - 09:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jan 08 - 10:09 AM
Anne Lister 15 Jan 08 - 06:26 AM
Charley Noble 15 Jan 08 - 08:26 AM
pavane 15 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM
Anne Lister 15 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM
Rog Peek 15 Jan 08 - 05:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 16 Jan 08 - 05:04 AM
pavane 16 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Justin 14 May 13 - 10:30 AM
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Subject: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 10:53 PM

G'day,
From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of Ratcliffe Highway can be found here.

RATCLIFFE HIGHWAY

As I was a-walking down London,
From Wapping to Ratcliffe Highway,
I chanced to pop into a gin-shop,
To spend a long night and a day.

A young doxy came rolling up to me,
And asked if I'd money to sport.
For a bottle of wine changed a guinea,
And she quickly replied: 'That's the sort.'

When the bottle was put on the table,
There was glasses for everyone.
When I asked for the change of my guinea,
She tipped me a verse of her song.

This lady flew into a passion,
And placed both her hands on her hip,
Saying: 'Sailor, don't you know our fashion?
Do you think you're on board of your ship?'

'If this is your fashion to rob me,
Such a fashion I'll never abide.
So launch out the change of my guinea,
Or else I'll give you a broadside.'

A gold watch hung over the mantel,
So the change of my guinea I take,
And down the stairs I run nimbly,
Saying: 'Darn my old boots, I'm well paid.'

The night being dark in my favour,
To the river I quickly did creep,
And I jumped in a boat bound for Deptford,
And got safe aboard of my ship.

So come all you bold young sailors,
That ramble down Ratcliffe Highway,
If you chance to pop into a gin-shop,
Beware, lads, how long you do stay.

For the songs and the liquors invite you,
And your heart will be all in a rage;
If you give them a guinea for a bottle,
You can go to the devil for change.

Sung by Mrs Howard, King's Lynn, Norfolk (R.V.W. 1905)

Click here for another version. And here for yet another.


Previous song: The Ploughman.
Next song: The Red Herring.

Penguin Index provided by Joe Offer


Cheers,
Alan ^^


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:17 AM

Here are the notes from Penguin:
    Ratcliffe Highway (FSJ II 172)
    In the first half of the nineteenth century, Ratcliffe Highway, Stepney, was the toughest thoroughfare in the East End of London. It was a place of sailors' lodging-houses, sailors' pubs, sailors' ladies. Henry Mayhew has given us vivid descriptions of the Highway, with tall brazen-faced women dressed in gaudy colours, sly pimps and crimps, roaring sailors out for a good time, bearded foreign musicians from the fifteen dance halls of the locality, and the intrepid policemen of H Division walking through the throng in twos. The Ratcliffe Highway song may have been made for performances in ships foc'sles, or it may have been made to impress the patrons of the Eastern Music Hall, the British Queen, the Prussian Eagle, or another local public house licensed for music. In any case, it now has some of the ring of tradition and much of the ring of truth. Mrs. Howard's text is supplemented from an unpublished version collected in Sussex in 1954 and kindly communicated by R. Copper, and from a broadside by Catnach.

And from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Ratcliffe Highway

DESCRIPTION: The sailor wanders down Ratcliffe Highway (and stops at an ale-house. What happens thereafter varies, e.g. he meets a girl, he fights with the landlady, etc.). After his business is done, he welcomes the chance to return to sea, even on a lousy old tub
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905
KEYWORDS: sailor courting whore fight
FOUND IN: US(MA) Britain
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Doerflinger, pp. 114-116, "As I Was A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway" (2 text, 2 tune)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 85, "Ratcliffe Highway" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, RATCLIF* RATCLIF2*

Roud #598
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Blow the Man Down" (floating lyrics; the songs often cross-fertilize)
cf. "The Deserter"
Notes: Ratcliffe Highway is a road in London near Limehouse Reach. It ran near the docks of the British East India Company. Its was hardly the best part of town -- the "Ratcliffe Highway Murders" are mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet, and formed a backdrop for Thomas De Quincey's Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.
The area's reputation eventually became so bad that the road was renamed St. George's Street. - RBW
One version of "The Deserter" has the man recruited on Ratcliffe Highway, and that version is also known by the name of "Ratcliffe Highway." - PJS
File: Doe114

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:13 AM

Doerflinger's "Ratcliffe Highway," the one that forms the basis for one version of "Blow the Man Down," is an entirely different song from that in Penguin.

Hugill gives at least two different versions of it, and Louis Killen has recorded it under the title of "The Fire Ship." Lloyd & MacColl call it "Cruising 'Round Yarmouth."


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Snuffy
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:12 PM

"Ratcliffe Highway" and "Rambling Through Wapping" in the Carpenter collection are on a similar theme to the Penguin one, but appear otherwise completely unrelated.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:21 PM

I remember Steve Benbow made a fine recording of this version.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 07:01 AM

In case you are interested:


This message contains link to map showing Ratcliff Highway


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:16 AM

Very nice, Guest. Thanks. And thanks, Pavane.


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Subject: LYR.Add:Ratcliffe Highway3
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:04 PM

An entirely different traditional song entitled "Ratcliff Highway" can be found in A SEA CHEST, a book or exerpts, poems, and songs edited by C. Fox Smith, pp. 169-171. She describes this song as dating back to the 1840's. The tune is the perennial "Come all you jolly..."

Here's the original words:

RATCLIFF HIGHWAY
(Anon., circa 1840; tune: Tune: variant of Scots "Caledoni-o")

Come all you jolly seamen,
And listen unto me;
Avast a while, I'll make you smile,
And tell you of a spree.
There's funny craft in Wapping,
In streaming colours gay,
And Pirates too, and Fireships,
In Ratcliff Highway.

So mind those buxom lasses,
In their flying colours gay,
Or soon they'll clean your lockers
In Ratcliff Highway!

The Old Three Crowns I anchored in,
Oh such a jolly crew;
There's rough and smooth from every clime,
And copper colour too.
Such lasses there, so neat and fair,
With hair both grey and red,
Some with no nose and some no teeth,
And damaged figurehead.

The Blue Anchor I next entered –
A Frigate took in tow;
I was run aground, my cargo lost,
I found that I must go;
I sail'd into another port,
And so by the next day
My hulk well-rigged and water-tight
Was in Ratcliff Highway.

Then there's the Three Jolly Sailors,
Such grog there in galore,
And lasses too, there's twenty,
I think as many more;
They foot it there so neatly,
But mind, without a doubt,
You'll find they'll cut your cable,
So keep a good lookout.

The Old Rose and Britannia,
Such Frigates there's at hand,
There's crooked Loo and squinting Sue,
And bandy Mary Ann;
There's skinny Nell the yellow girl,
And flash Maria neat,
There's bouncing Het and brazen Bet
That's been through all the fleet.

Then in the famed King William
That's in New Gravel Lane,
There's Jenny Jones all skin and bones,
And ugly Molly Payne;
Thick-lipped Kit as black as jet
With a bustle such a size,
And snuffling Liz, with such a phiz,
And Sukey Gravy-eyes.

So all you jolly sailors,
I'd have you bear in mind
There's Pirate craft in every port,
And Fireships you'll find;
And if you wish to have a spree,
When out upon a cruise,
Get moored all right, so snug and tight,
In the port of the Paddy's Goose.

And mind those buxom lasses,
In their flying colours gay,
Or soon they'll clear your lockers
In Ratcliff Highway.

Here's my revision of this song, primarily tightening up some of the internal rhyming but changing a line or two as well:

RATCLIFF HIGHWAY
(Anon., circa 1840, as adapted by Charles Ipcar in 2005; tune: Tune: variant of Scots "Caledoni-o")

Come all you jolly sailors,
And listen unto me;
Avast a while, I'll make you smile,
And tell you of a spree;
There's funny craft in Wapping,
In streaming colours gay,
And Pirate ships, and Fireships,
In Ratcliff Highway.

Chorus:

So mind those buxom lasses,
In their flying colours gay,
Or soon they'll clear your lockers out
In Ratcliff Highway!

At the Old Three Crowns I anchored,
Oh such a jolly crew;
There's rough and fine from every clime,
And copper colour too;
Such lasses there, so neat and fair,
With hair both grey and red,
Some with no nose and some no teeth,
And with damaged figurehead. (CHO)

The Blue Anchor I next entered –
A Frigate took in tow;
I was tempest toss'd, my cargo lost,
I made full sail to go;
I cruised into another port,
And so by the next day
My hull well-rigged and water-tight
Was in Ratcliff Highway. (CHO)

Then the Three Jolly Sailors,
Such grog there in galore,
And lasses too, for the whole crew,
With dancing on the floor;
They foot it there so neatly,
But mind, without a doubt,
You'll find they'll cut your cable,
So keep a sharp lookout. (CHO)

Next the Old Rose and Britannia,
Such Frigates there's at hand,
There's crooked Loo and squinting Sue,
And bandy Mary Ann;
There's skinny Sal, the yellow gal,
And flash Maria neat,
There's bouncing Nell and brazen Belle
That's been through all the fleet. (CHO)

Then in the famed King William,
That's in New Gravel Lane,
There's Jenny Jones all skin and bones,
And ugly Molly Payne;
Thick-lipped Bet as black as jet
With a bustle such a size,
And snuffling Liz, with such a phiz,
And Sukey Gravy-eyes. (CHO)

So all you jolly sailors,
I'd have you bear in mind
There's Pirate sort in every port,
And Fireships you'll find;
And if you wish to have a spree,
When you're out on the loose,
Get moored all right, so snug and tight,
In the port of the Paddy's Goose.

So mind those buxom lasses,
In their flying colours gay,
Or soon they'll clear your lockers out
In Ratcliff Highway.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 11:22 PM

"Ratcliffe Highway" appears as "Rolling Down Wapping" in the Bodleian Library. The earliest of several copies by various printers is one printed by J. Catnach, ca. 1813-1838.

Lyr. Add: ROLLING DOWN WAPPING

As I was rolling down Wapping,
I rambled through Ratcliff Highway,
To drink I went into an alehouse,
To spend all that night and next day.

Where a blooming young Doxy sat by me,
She ask'd if I'd money to sport,
For a Bottle of Wine charge a Guinea,
She quickly replied that's the sort.

When the Bottle was brought to the table,
And glasses for every one,
I ask'd for the change of a guinea,
She gave me the verse of a song.

The old baud she flew into a passion,
And plac'd her two hands on her hips,
Saying, young man, you don't know the fashion,
You think you're on board of a ship.

If this is your fashion to rob me,
It's a fashion I ne'er can abide,
So launch out the change of my guinea
Or dang me I'll give a broadside.

A Bottle and glass on the table
At her head I quickly let fly,
Then down on the floor she did tumble
O Murder, I'm killed she cried.

A gold watch which hung o'er the chimney,
For the change of my guinea I seiz'd,
So nimbly tripped down stairs,
Saying, dang my old shoes I am pleas'd.

The night had been dark in my favour,
To the waterside nimbly did creep,
And got into a boat bound for Debtford,
And got on board of my ship.

Come all you young seamen who ramble,
Especially through Ratcliff Highway,
To drink you go into an alehouse,
Beware how long you do stay.

For the wines and the songs will divert you,
You'll think that your mind was deranged,
And if that you give them a guinea,
You may go to the d---l for change.

Harding B11 (3307A), on sheet with "Whale Fishery," J. Catnach, London, and (sold by) Marshall, W., Bristol. Ca. 1813-1838. The type font, with 's' resembling 'f', suggests a date before 1820.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 11:36 PM

Nice, Charley. Stan Hugill published his version of this song back in the '60s in one of his articles for the English folksong magazine "Spin." ISTR his tune was different, but the words were very much the same.

I don't think he said where he got it....


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 07:03 AM

also mentioned in the first line of The New Deserter


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 07:52 AM

Lighter-

The source (Ratcliff Highway-3), most likely, was C. Fox Smith. Stan was very familar with her work and her anthology A SEA CHEST was available. I borrowed my 1920's copy from the Boston Public Libary last weekend. Now I know I need to find one on the used book websites.

I especially enjoy the "words of wisdom" expressed in this song, based on extensive sampling of the wares available along that infamous street. Look sharp, me lads!

I won't swear by the traditional tune but it's a logical one.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 04:01 PM

"Radcliffe Highway," at the start of this thread with notes added by Joe Offer, or "Rolling Down Wapping," was also printed as "Change For a Guinea," W. Armstrong, Liverpool, between 1820 and 1824. The only difference from "Rolling Down Wapping" and the verses in Penguin, except for a few minor word changes, is the last line, "You may go to Davy for their change." Bodleian Library, Harding B28(194).

These versions are discussed in "Classic English Folk Songs," the revision by Malcolm Douglas of "The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs,"


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 10:37 AM

Here are some additional notes for the version of this song that I posted above as "Ratcliff Highway-3":

Notes from C. Fox Smith, SAILORTOWN DAYS, pp. 28-29:

In the final verse of "Ratcliff Highway-3" the sailors are urged to stay at "Paddy's Goose," which was a notorious tavern actually named the "White Swan" but informally referred to as "Paddy's Goose" but subsequently taken over by the reformists of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society. Therefore, it was thought a safe place for sailors to roost.

Notes from Stan Hugill, SAILORTOWN, p. 114

The first verse of "Ratcliff Highway-3" is used to introduce his chapter on London's sailortown.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM

"Sailors Frolic, or: Life in the East," is the title of a broadside in the Bodleian Library which has the lyrics found in the "Sea Chest."
This broadside includes one more verse before the final 'So all you jolly sailors.'

At the famed Old Barley Mow,
hailed a frigate tight;
Steer'd away, without delay,
and boarded her that night,
She took my watch and money too
and clothes without delay.
Two bullies stout they turned me out,
in Ratcliff Highway.

"Sailors Frolic" is a different song from "Ratcliffe Highway (Rolling Down Wapping)." A different title is needed to avoid confusion. "Sailors Frolic (Life in the East)" is the broadside title, but a better one may be found. "Sailors Frolic" is not in the Traditional Ballad Index. I don't have Roud.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society issued a cd "Rap-a-Tap-Tap" by Frank Purslow in 1960 with "Sailors Frolic;" I don't have it so don't know what tune he used.

One minor correction to the text from "The Sea Chest;" in the second verse last line, figure heads should be plural.

Bodleian Library, Firth 13 (213), no date; Harding B15 (270b); both from the same press. No date or printer given, but the ca. 1840 date in the "Sea Chest" seems about right.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 07:07 PM

Q-

Thanks for the extra verse for the broadside "Ratcliff Highway-3/Sailor's Frolic" and for the correction of C. Fox Smith's transcription of the song with regard to "figureheadS."

I now find "Sailor's Frolic/Life in the East" in my reprinted copy of John Ashton's 1891 book entitled REAL SAILOR SONGS, pp. 145-146. That version is identical to what's been posted from C. Fox Smith, plus the additional verse "At the fam'd Barley Mow," and repeats her error with regard to "figureheadS" in the second verse.

Of course, in Ashton's book I've run across another Ratcliff Highway song with a similar cast of characters and taverns which I'll post later, after I've indulged in another virtual spree.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: LYR.ADD: Ratcliffe Highway IN 1842
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 08:36 PM

Well, here are some further adventures along the Highway as it was known in London. Apparently in 1842 Paddy's Goose was still a rough place, had not yet been taken over by reformers as a Sailr's Home:

RATCLIFFE HIGHWAY IN 1842

(Reprinted in John Ashton's REAL SAILOR SONGS, 1891, p. 149)

You jolly sailors list to me,
I've been a fortnight home from sea,
Which time I've rambled night and day,
To have a lark on the Highway.

Chorus:

Listen you jovial sailors gay,
To the rigs of Ratcliffe Highway.

Some lasses their heads will toss,
With bustles as big as a brewer's horse,
Some wear a cabbage net, called veil,
And a boa just like a buffalo's tail. (CHO)

I married a lass with her face so red,
She eat three salt herrings and a bullock's head,
She danc'd a jig, and began to sing,
Drank a gallon of beer, and a pint of gin. (CHO)

I have sailed, indeed, all over the world,
And never before my flag unfurled,
In India, China, or Bungo Bay,
As the spot we call Ratcliffe Highway. (CHO)

One night a lady did me drag,
To have a spree at the Lamb and Flag,
Then she got drunk, and got in a row,
And sold her shoes at the Barley Mow. (CHO)

There is eels and shrimp as black as fleas,
And a covey a selling blue grey peas,
There's ugly Bet and Dandy Jane,
At the King William in Gravel Lane. (CHO)

Yes, you'll see some girls as smart and neat,
As the Dowager Queen of Otaheite,
There's every colour, indeed 'tis true,
Green, black, and purple, yellow and blue. (CHO)

I went one night to have a reel,
At the Angle tap in Blue Coat Fields,
I danced and capered, and sung a song,
And married a lady they called Miss Long. (CHO)

I fell in with a lady so modest and meek,
She ate thirteen faggots, and nine pig's feet,
Three pounds of beef, and, to finish the meal,
Eat eight pounds of tripe, and a large cow heel. (CHO)

I met with another borne down with fear,
She guzzled down thirteen pots of beer,
She threw up her heels, and play'd the deuce,
And broke her nose at the Paddy's Goose. (CHO)

You jovial sailors, one and all,
When you in the Port of London call,
Mind Ratcliffe Highway, and the Damsels loose,
The William, the Bear, and the Paddy's Goose.

You sailors bold, my song obtain,
And learn it on the raging main!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 10:08 PM

There are enough songs mentioning the Radcliffe Highway to make up a cd.

(On the other hand I have an lp devoted to "The Unfortunate Rake" and its descendants, legitimate and illegitimate, and it becomes boring before the last bunch of posies is thrown on the coffin)


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 05:08 AM

Nothing to add lyrically or musically to the thread but simply to add a bit more geographical info.

I think it was the 2nd post that quoted from the Ballad Index:

"The area's reputation eventually became so bad that the road was renamed St. George's Street."

Not sure how long that name lasted but the road is now called simply "The Highway" if anyone is looking for it on a London street map.

Most of you probably already know that though!


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 09:07 AM

Both "Ratcliff Highway-3" and "Ratcliffe Highway 1842" are from broadsides composed and sold by well-meaning reformers such as the British and Foreign Sailors' Society who hoped that fresh sailors ashore would read and heed their warnings, and sing their songs to their shipmates after they shipped out again. Some of the language in the songs is somewhat stilted or landlubbery:

There's every colour, indeed 'tis true,
Green, black, and purple, yellow and blue.

Some of these broadsides may have been enjoyed in an ironic fashion by the sailors, similar to how we enjoy the temperence song "Wild Rover." Some may have been folk-processed into the traditional forebitter repertoire and become as salty as "The Maid of Amsterdam."

I have to agree with Q that an entire recording of Ratcliff Highway songs might be boring to listen to after the first three songs. However, that is generally what my group Roll & Go is in the process of doing with our ROLLING DOWN TO SAILORTOWN CD, hopefully to be released this summer.

We're rolling down to London Town,
Yes, we're rolling down to London Town;
We'll cruise through Tiger Bay
And in Anchor Lane we'll lay,
And we're rolling down to London Town!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 05:42 PM

Charley, I doubt that your group will issue a boring cd!


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM

refresh!


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: stallion
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 01:13 PM

cheers Charley, I should have known better, you are indeed a very erudite chap, but you must agree it was a bit of a turnaround, at first I thought you were having a leg pull, you know, irony, any way, since I e-mailed you I have made some more amendments, I suppose it will always be work in progress!
Pete


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 07:30 AM

Srangely never any songs about penguins going down Ratcliff Highway.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Anne Lister
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 08:32 AM

I used to live just off the Highway in Wapping. The name "St George" came from the church and is still applied to the swimming baths.

I suppose you all know the origin of the term "whopper"? (Originally spelled wapper, presumably). It comes from very nearby ...

Anne


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: pavane
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 08:42 AM

In what context?

Whopper meaning an untruth
Whopper meaning large

You seem to imply that it is related to Wapping - A Wapping big WHAT?

(My family seems to have originated in that general area, too, c1810)


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM

There is really no evidence at all that the term 'Whopper' has anything at all to do with Wapping (or chained and bloated pirates for that matter).

Far more likely is that the word derives from the verb 'wapper' which means 'to blink'. Some argue that it's etymological origin is the Dutch word 'wapperen' but the evidence is not entirely compelling.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:03 AM

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Ratcliffe Highway, Stepney, was the toughest thoroughfare in the East End of London.

    There was a series of brutal and notorious murders there in 1811. Were there any popular songs of the day regarding these events?


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:09 AM

PD James wrote a book about the murders.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Anne Lister
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 06:26 AM

Can't imagine why whopper would have anything to do with blinking ... but to clarify for those who don't know, local Wapping folklore at least has it that convicted pirates were left after execution until three tides of the river had washed over them, leaving them bloated. Thus - a wapper, which became whopper. And a whopper as in a tall story because it refers to a whopping lie. Puts me off Burger King just a tad more, though ...

I'm not emotionally attached to this story so if it turns out not to be true I'm happy enough to shrug and turn away - but it's a colourful area for stories of all kinds. Unfortunately now it's been rebuilt and fussed over some of the more Dickensian murky areas have been changed out of recognition. When I was first living there the spice warehouses were still standing, and on a windy day the air would be rich with cinnamon.

Oddly enough, now I look out of my windows and see the Welsh hills (locally: "mountains" - some of them are, technically) I don't miss it at all.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:26 AM

One the famous place in London's "sailortown" according to C. Fox Smith was known as the "Chain Locker" (from Sailor-Town Days, p. 21):

... the Chain Locker is the name given by sailormen to the Shipping Office on Tower Hill, where crews sign on and pay off, and where the effects of dead seamen are kept until they are claimed, or - failing a claimant - until they are sold by auction after the statutory time has elapsed."

I wonder if there is any sign left of such a building, boarded up and still chock-a-block filled with sailors' sea chests?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM

If you find it, let me know. My ancestor ran the 'Dutch Herring Company' nearby in Lower Thames Street (c1808-1820). Might find something there! (He won a Society of Arts Isis Gold medal and 50 guineas for his Cured Herrings in 1814)


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Anne Lister
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM

Charlie, not that I can remember from my time there ...sorry!

Anne


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Rog Peek
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 05:33 PM

Mentioned here: The Deserter

Rog


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM

First usages, in print
Whopper (large) - A cant term, in Grose' Vulgar Dictionary, 1785; a large man or large woman.
Marryat, in a novel about Nelson, speaks of him passing up some whoppers in favor of a four-master.

Whopper (lie) Nairne, Poems, 1791; Some do affirm- sure, 'tis a whopper! / Thou'rt silver plated on copper. By late 18th c., the word was regularly used for a lie.

Guest Neill D.- many song sheets about murder at the Bodleian Library. I haven't gone through them, but there may be Ratcliffe murder in some of them.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 05:04 AM

"I have to agree with Q that an entire recording of Ratcliff Highway songs might be boring to listen to after the first three songs."

Those as old as me, and those few who are older than me and yet not dead, may remember McColl's Long Harvest. Set of 10 lps of ballads all in several different versions. Very worthy. Useful to understand or illustrate points. But not something to take to your desert island.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: pavane
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM

Forgot to mention, our group in Dubai was originally called Ratcliffe Highway, c1979. There is a photo of us in 1982 at my web site, but by that time, we had changed our name (not my idea) to 'Unadopted Woad'

see picture

(Still keeping to the theme of roads though)


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Justin
Date: 14 May 13 - 10:30 AM

Regarding the tune of Ratcliff Highway to tune of 'variant of Scots "Caledoni-o")' Where can I get an exmple of this tune?


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: GUEST,Justin
Date: 05 Oct 14 - 04:31 AM

After spending many a time playing 'Ratcliffe Highway' on guitar I notice this other more lucid narrative of 'Ratcliffe Highway', which I would love to play!
However I am unfamiliar with Tune: variant of Scots "Caledoni-o".
Could any helpful soul point me in the direction of this tune please?

Many warm thanks.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: Ratcliffe Highway
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Oct 14 - 08:30 AM

When I sing the Barrack/Peter/Patrick/whatever-Sailortown song, being a Londoner I always sing it as Ratcliffe Street. It's on my YouTube Channel.

≈M≈


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