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The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner

DigiTrad:
TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW


Related thread:
What are 'segs'?-Testimony of Patience Kershaw (57)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Testimony of Patience Kershaw [Words and music by Frank Higgins, 1969] (Midi made from notation in My Song Is My Own (ed. Kathy Henderson et al., 1979).)


GUEST,Anne Price 17 Aug 04 - 01:40 PM
AggieD 15 Jul 04 - 04:40 PM
shepherdlass 15 Jul 04 - 07:29 AM
LilyFestre 15 Jul 04 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Keith A o Hertford 15 Jul 04 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,padgett 15 Jul 04 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,padgett 15 Jul 04 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 14 Jul 04 - 05:59 PM
BB 14 Jul 04 - 02:49 PM
Bill D 14 Jul 04 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 07 Apr 04 - 03:51 AM
Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 11:31 PM
rich-joy 01 Apr 04 - 10:54 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 01 Apr 04 - 06:43 PM
Willa 01 Apr 04 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,TC 01 Apr 04 - 04:19 PM
Strollin' Johnny 30 Mar 04 - 11:00 AM
breezy 30 Mar 04 - 10:47 AM
Strollin' Johnny 30 Mar 04 - 10:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 30 Mar 04 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,sadashivan 30 Mar 04 - 09:50 AM
WyoWoman 21 Jun 00 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,bigJ 20 Jun 00 - 07:37 PM
Susanne (skw) 20 Jun 00 - 05:29 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Jun 00 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,paul c/o dawnfook@supanet.com 19 Jun 00 - 02:31 PM
Barry Finn 22 Aug 97 - 04:20 PM
johnk 22 Aug 97 - 03:13 PM
Dave Brennan 21 Aug 97 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 97 - 05:05 AM
Alan of Oz 18 Aug 97 - 04:51 AM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 97 - 04:41 AM
18 Aug 97 - 03:50 AM
Alan of Australia 18 Aug 97 - 03:42 AM
Dave Brennan 17 Aug 97 - 11:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Anne Price
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 01:40 PM

Does anyone know who owns the copyright to The Testimony of Patience Kershaw now, and how I can get a mechanical license for it for a CD recording?


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: AggieD
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 04:40 PM

The version by Roy Bailey is on a CD called 'What you do with what you've got' On Fuse Records CFCD399.

I've got a copy signed by the man himself, I think from Towersey Festival a few years ago.

Wonderful, well worth the listen. Also includes such greats as 'Rolling Home', 'The Ugly Ones'& a great version of 'Hard Times of Old England'.

Get hold of it if you can.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: shepherdlass
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 07:29 AM

There's also a marvellous Roy Bailey recording of this somewhere - it was on an LP released in the mid 80s, but I can't remember its name.

Glad this discussion came up, I've been trying to find the name of this song for years.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: LilyFestre
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 07:11 AM

As an aspiring teacher, I recently made a web quest focusing on Breaker Boys....didn't find much information about girls working in the mines....these lyrics are great and I'll have to link them into my webquest! The girls in the class will love it!!!!

It's amazing how many topics are covered here...AMAZING! :)

Michelle


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 07:05 AM

Rightly, much has been written of the evils of slavery.
It is sometimes forgotten that our own poor, and especially their children and orphans, lacking the intrinsic value of a slave and readily replaceable, were commonly worked literally to death.

God bless you sir

Keith.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 07:00 AM

if you want further info' ablot Huskar Pit Disaster, just type it in on Google

Ray Padgett (I meant Kathryn Roberts of Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman)~ above


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 06:52 AM

the song came about following an official inquiry into child labour, and followed the tradegy which occurred when a number of children were drowned in the Huskar pit, Silkstone nr Barnsley, as result of a flash flood

I obtained a copy of the report a few years ago from the National Coal MIning Museum at Netherton, near Wakefield where the details and feelings expressed in the song can be found; however I recollect that one of Roy Palmers books contained the details which form the nucleus of the song, I forget the title as I think I loaned it to Carol,Kathryn Robert mum!
Ray Padgett


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:59 PM

I have an article from a magazine about the women who worked on the pit top washing and sorting the coal, and breaking it up to the sort of size used for domestic fires. They were actually quite proud of their strength and their ability to work a full shift doing hard work.

The miners union forced them out of work and their jobs were given to men who were invalided out from the coal face.

I have to smile at the people who want to stop child labour and child slavery - they don't seem to realise that the children are put to work to earn a living as opposed to dying and that if a child has an owner they are likely to be fed and housed, maybe even have medical treatment if they are ill. The families are actually trying to keep their children alive in circumstances most people in First World coountries can't believe exist today.

The real culprits are the wealthy nations who manipulate governments and economies - and if a country offends by trying to up the price or retain a raw material it is punished - maybe invaded or the World Bank will not lend money.

On a smaller scale just look at how our UK pits were closed down to teach the mining communities a lesson.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: BB
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 02:49 PM

My favourite recording has to be Carolyn Robson on her CD 'All the Fine Young Men', RVRCD02.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 12:00 PM

I have to revive this thread because I just heard an MP3 of Gary & Vera Aspey doing this....and if there is a stronger, more moving version, I don't think my soul could stand it.

In the process of looking up information, I found this web site from Germany with commentary in both German & English....and a link to this Mudcat thread, where much of the information seems to have been obtained!

What an amazing circle it is all becoming!


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 03:51 AM

I remember Frank Higgins well. It surprised me when Patience Kershaw appeared as Frank was mainly into the blues -he was also a big Bert jansch/John Renbourn fan. The last time I saw Frank must have been 25 years ago in the street in Liverpool city centre, and he was pretty drunk. A few years ago - after a conversation with Roy Bailey, who was keen to meet Frank, I went through the Merseyside phone directory trying to find Frank, but without success.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal min
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 11:31 PM

Not in answer to the 1 April question, but to add to the list: Elle Osborne recorded a fine rendition on her cd "Testimony". MP3 available here. Definitely made me cry when I heard it for the first time - Elle, live at Neffa.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: rich-joy
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 10:54 PM

I learnt The Tesimony of Patience Kershaw from a (70s?) Vera Aspey recording - but there's also "The Collier Lass" as sung by Frankie Armstrong on her 1975 Topic album ...

Cheers!
R-J


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 06:43 PM

Found this thread:

Songs of the Industrial Revolution

But I am sure we have more songs about the subject. Seems to me, I remember a thread about an Irish song about conditions in some kind a sweat shop, but I'm not sure if it was about kids or women in 19th century working conditions.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Willa
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 04:48 PM

Collier Lass and Fourpence a Day are both in the DT. Not sure of the dates, but I think Collier Lass is fairly recent (depends how you define that!)


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal min
From: GUEST,TC
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 04:19 PM

We're in this program called S.C.R.E.A.M. against child labor, and we need a preety good, and fairly modern song about child labor. Besides the song listed, do you have any more??


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 11:00 AM

Yep, Roy's avuncular tones work very well with this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: breezy
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:47 AM

Roy Bailey performs it very well


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:44 AM

In another recent thread someone asked why do people feel the need to keep harking back to the coal-mining days, and I answered that if they need to ask, they probably wouldn't understand the answer.

If you're still there, the answer is the suffering of 'Patience Kershaw', her peers and all those who preceded and followed her.

Great song but sad, sad subject matter.

Johnny.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:30 AM

Did you have something to contribute to this musical discussion, guest?


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Subject: child labour photos
From: GUEST,sadashivan
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 09:50 AM

Who are responsible for child labour ? If parents don't send their children to work I am sure factories will not be able to consume them. Why poor parents feel children as their assets who will earn money for their home?


click the site below for photos:
child labour photos


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: WyoWoman
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 12:42 AM

You know, occasionally I start feeling sorry for myself because I have to work so hard and I can't afford this or that. Then I read an account like the one above and feel utterly humbled.

I have to get a recording of this. Which one should I go for?

WW


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 07:37 PM

Frank lived over on the Birkenhead side of the Mersey and used to frequent Liverpool folk clubs some thirty years ago. He was something of a heavy drinker, but then I suspect that most of us were then too, and I feel sure that I had heard that he had died some time ago. If memory serves me rightly, Frank wrote this song for a competition organised by the English Folksong & Dance Society - it was one of two songs that he submitted, and he thought that the other was the better song. One of the judges in the competition was Ian Campbell, and while Frank also submitted a tune for the song, I think the one to which the words are sung has a lot of Ian in it. Frank once wrote a wonderful verse for the song Cosher Bailey's Engine, it went:
Cosher Bailey's sister Netta, performed light-operetta,
Sang in comedy and farce, 'Call Me Madam' and 'Kiss Me ...Kate'

Doesn't look so good written down though!


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Subject: Origins: TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 05:29 PM

I have three recordings of 'Patience Kershaw' - by the Ian Campbell Group on 'Something to Sing About' (1972), by Roy Bailey on 'If I Knew Who the Enemy Was' (1978) and - my favourite - by Cilla Fisher & Artie Trezise taped live from the radio, c. 1978. Here is some more info on it (though I'm not sure how this is going to turn out):

[1842:] A pit girl from Halifax, P. Kershaw, aged 17: "My father has been dead about a year; my mother is living and has ten children, five lads and five lasses; the oldest is about 30, the youngest is four; three lasses go to the mill; all the lads are colliers, two getters and three hurriers; one lives at home and does nothing; mother does nought but look after home.
 Name                    Age     Occupation      Wages

£ s d
William (Kershaw) 22 Getter 0 16 0
Thomas (married) c.30 - -
James 18 Hurrier 0 8 6
Bethel 13 Ditto 0 5 0
Solomon 11 Ditto 0 3 6
Patience 17 Ditto 0 8 6
Sarah 24 Weaver 0 9 0
Hannah 21 Ditto 0 9 0
Sybil (married) 26 - -
Caroline (at home) 4 - -
Alice (at home, sick) 15 - -

2 19 6
All my sisters have been hurriers, but three went to the mill, Alice went because her legs swelled from hurrying in cold water when she was hot. I never went to day-school; I go to Sunday school, but I cannot read or write; I go to pit at 5 o'clock in the morning; I get my breakfast of porridge and milk first; I take my dinner with me, a cake, and eat it as I go; I do not stop or rest any time for the purpose; I get nothing else until I get home, and then have potatoes and meat, not every day meat. I hurry in the clothes I have now got on, trousers and ragged jacket; the bald place upon my head is made by thrusting the corves; my legs have never swelled, but sisters' did when they went to mill; I hurry the corves a mile and more under ground and back; they weigh 300 cwt [hundredweight]; I hurry 11 a-day; I wear a belt and chain at the workings to get the corves out; the getters that I work for are naked except their caps; they pull off all their clothes; I see them at work when I go up; sometimes they beat me, if I am not quick enough, with their hands; they strike me upon my back; the boys take liberties with me sometimes, they pull me about; I am the only girl in the pit; there are about 20 boys and 15 men; all the men are naked; I would rather work in mill than in coal-pit."

This girl is an ignorant, filthy, ragged, and deplorable-looking object, and such an [sic] one as the uncivilized natives of the prairies would be shocked to look upon. (First report of the commission on the employment of children, quoted in Palmer, Poverty 43)

[1972:] Although written fairly recently by Frank Higgins of Liverpool this moving song is based very literally on the actual evidence given by the young Patience Kershaw before the Government Commission of Enquiry into Child Labour in 1842. As a result of the enquiry in that same year an Act of Parliament prohibited the underground employment in the mines of women and boys under ten years old. (Notes Ian Campbell Folk Group, 'Something To Sing About')


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 03:35 PM

If you type albert berry into the "Digitrad and Forum Search" box on the main Forum page, you'll find it.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: GUEST,paul c/o dawnfook@supanet.com
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 02:31 PM

has any body got the words for the coal mining song albert berry as sung by Gary and Vera


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Aug 97 - 04:20 PM

Child labor - Vera & Gary Aspey doing King Cotton on their From The North LP on Topic. They'll Never Keep Us Down-Women's Coal Mining Songs on Rounder. On it are : Coal Mining Woman-Hazel Dickens, Draglines-Deborah Silverstein's songs, sung by Reel World String Band, Hello Coal Miner- Sarah Gunning, and many more. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: johnk
Date: 22 Aug 97 - 03:13 PM

I heard Martin Carthy sing this song at a Vancouver Folk Festival some years ago. Cried and Cried, we all did.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Dave Brennan
Date: 21 Aug 97 - 07:21 PM

Thank you all. I tend to know a lot of Irish songs though the Lord knows how long it's been since I sung any of them.

As I say, I heard this only once a long time ago, in a British folk club. And it immediately grabed me, the really sad story yet told in such a matter-of-fact way; I liked the tune as well.

This place in great, the we can all swap our stories and songs. Thanks again. I've never heard of Sally Rogers or Priscilla Herdman, but I'll keep an eye out for their singing.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 05:05 AM

It's 2 AM in California and time for bed, Alan. If I hadn't typed the song now, I probably wouldn't have done it at all. It you're not familiar with Sally Rogers, you may find her interesting. Her music is similar to Priscilla Herdman's, but with a somewhat heavier emphasis on traditional music. Excellent stuff. G'nite.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Alan of Oz
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 04:51 AM

Joe,
Gee you're quick mate. What time of day is it where you are? Here it's early evening (7:50p.m.) & I've just arrived home from work, but Mudcat thinks it's the wee small hours.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: Lyr Add: TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW (F Higgins)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 04:41 AM

TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW
(Frank Higgins)

It's good of you to ask me, Sir, to tell you how I spend my days
Down in a coal black tunnel, Sir, I hurry corves to earn my pay.
The corves are full of coal, kind Sir, I push them with my hands and head.
It isn't lady-like, but Sir, you've got to earn your daily bread.

I push them with my hands and head, and so my hair gets worn away.
You see this baldy patch I've got, it shames me like I just can't say.
A lady's hands are lily white, but mine are full of cuts and segs.
And since I'm pushing all the time, I've got great big muscles on my legs.

I try to be respectable, but sir, the shame, God save my soul.
I work with naked, sweating men who curse and swear and hew the coal.
The sights, the sounds, the smells, kind Sir, not even God could know my pain.
I say my prayers, but what's the use? Tomorrow will be just the same.

Now, sometimes, Sir, I don't feel well, my stomach's sick, my head it aches.
I've got to hurry best I can. My knees are weak, my back near breaks.
And then I'm slow, and then I'm scared these naked men will batter me.
But they're not to blame, for if I'm slow, their families will starve, you see.

Now all the lads, they laugh at me, and Sir, the mirror tells me why.
Pale and dirty can't look nice. It doesn't matter how hard I try.
Great big muscles on my legs, a baldy patch upon my head.
A lady, Sir? Oh, no, not me! I should've been a boy instead.

I praise your good intentions, Sir, I love your kind and gentle heart
But now it's 1842, and you and I, we're miles apart.
A hundred years and more will pass before we're standing side by side
But please accept my grateful thanks. God bless you Sir, at least you tried.

From the "Generations" CD, by Sally Rogers. This CD has yet another version of the Sojourner Truth speech, along with a number of other powerful songs.
Sally's notes say that the words to this song are derived from a transcript of testimony gathered by the Ashley Mines Committee from 17-yr-old Patience Kershaw in 1842. By then, Patience had worked in the mines for most of her life, the effects of which are clear in this song.... The song was written by Englishman Frank Higgins, whom Sally was unable to locate.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From:
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 03:50 AM

Looks like we're working on this at the same time, Alan. I think you're right. My guess is that it was the Sojourner Truth "Ain't I a Woman?" speech, but the Patience Kershaw song is closer to what was requested.
Here's the Sojourner Truth speech:
http://www.digitalsojourn.org/speech.html
Priscilla Herdman did a musical rendition of the speech in her 1987 "Darkness Into Light" album. Very powerful song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 03:42 AM

"The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw". Don't know who wrote it. Don't think I have a recording or anything but I'll have a look. Don't hold your breath.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Dave Brennan
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 11:41 PM

I heard this song only once. I think it's fairly modern, about an interview of a gentleman with a female coal miner. The last line goes, something like, "Thank you, Sir. At least you tried." Another line goes, "Great big musles on my neck....."

Any help is appreciated


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