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Lyr Req: Sheffield Grinder / Grinder's Hardships

DigiTrad:
THE SHEFFIELD GRINDER


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Tally-I-O the Grinder (2)
Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder (9)
Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder (4)


GUEST,Lin 18 Sep 01 - 07:47 AM
Whippet 18 Sep 01 - 07:49 AM
Wolfgang 18 Sep 01 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Lin 18 Sep 01 - 08:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 01 - 08:10 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 01 - 10:27 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 18 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Lin 18 Sep 01 - 10:53 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 18 Sep 01 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Jane Bernal 28 Aug 05 - 02:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Aug 05 - 03:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Aug 05 - 03:43 PM
GUEST 10 Nov 10 - 11:44 AM
Paul Davenport 10 Nov 10 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Andymac 13 Jul 13 - 04:18 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Jul 13 - 08:53 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Jul 13 - 09:49 PM
Uncle Tone 17 Jul 13 - 06:31 AM
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Subject: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 07:47 AM

Can anyone help? I have been trying to find the lyrics for this song for ages but can't. I firsxt heard it sung by a group called Bryony. I can't pick it out from a recording a friend gave me as the recording is not good. All I have is the first verse (I think) which goes:

To be a Sheffield grinder, It is no easy trade, There's more to do then more to do, A-grinding all the blades, there's many a man among us ???????????????????????? For there's few who face such hardships, As we poor grinders do.

Hope someone out there can let me have the lyrics.

Thanks

Lin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Whippet
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 07:49 AM

Was the original A side of Capstick Come Home by Tony Capstick which got to the top of the UK singles chart


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 07:58 AM

The Digitrad and Forum search (I just entered the two words: sheffield grinder) leads to e.g. this post

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 08:06 AM

Thaks for that Wolfgang but I have already seen these lyrics and it's not the same song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 08:10 AM

The song Lin is looking for is not The Sheffield Grinder, but The Grinders Hardships, which was written for the Grinders Misfortune Society, founded in 1804 at Crookes in Sheffield; just up the hill from where I live, as it happens.  I'll post it later on.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GRINDERS' HARDSHIPS
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 10:27 AM

THE GRINDERS' HARDSHIPS
(Written for the Grinders' Misfortune Society of Crookes, Sheffield; c. 1804)

To be a Sheffield grinder it is no easy trade;
There's more than you'd imagine in the grinding of a blade.
The strongest man amongst us is old at thirty-two,
For there's few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
For there's few, &c.

It happened in the year eighteen hundred and five,
From May-day to Christmas the season was quite dry;
That all our oldest grinders such a time never knew,
For there's few who brave the hardships that we poor grinders do.
For there's few, &c.

In summer time we can't work till water does appear,
And if this does not happen the season is severe:
Then our fingers are numb'd by keen winter frosts or snow,
And few can brave the hardships that we poor grinders do.
And few, &c.

When war is proclaimed our masters quickly cry,
"Orders countermanded", our goods we all lay by;
Your prices we must settle, and you'll be stinted too-
There's few suffer such hardships as we poor grinders do.
There's few, &c.

There seldom comes a day but our dairy-maid goes wrong,
And if that does not happen, perhaps we break a stone;
Which may wound us for life or give us our final blow,
For there's few that brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
For there's few, &c.

There's many a poor grinder who's thus been snatched away
Without a moment's warning to meet the Judgment day.
Before his Judge he must appear, his final doom to know;
There are few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
There's few, &c.

Thus many a poor grinder, whose family is large,
That with his best endeavours cannot his debts discharge;
When children cry for bread, how pitiful the view,
Though few can brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
Though few, &c.

So now I must conclude these few humble rhymes
With "Success to all grinders" who suffer in hard times;
I wish them better fortune, their families the same,
And may we never experience such hardships again.
By being further stinted and paying discount too,
There are few who brave such hardships as we grinders do.
There are few, &c.


The above text is quoted from  The South Riding Song Book  (South Riding Folk Network, 1998).  I don't know to what tune the song was originally set; nowadays it is usually sung to  Come All You Tramps and Hawkers.  Dairy-maid was grinders' slang for a piece of equipment, but I don't know what.

J. Edward Vickers (A Popular History of Sheffield, 1978) noted that "One of the most dangerous occupations was that of the grinders, who, because of the dust inhaled from the grinding process, had a life expectancy of only thirty-five years."


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Subject: Lyr Add: TO BE A SHEFFIELD GRINDER
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM

If memory serves (From "The Stirrings in Sheffield")

Sorry to do you out of the fun of typing Malcolm :)

To be a Sheffield Grinder it is no easy trade
There's more than you'd imagine to the grinding of a blade
The strongest man among us is old at thirty-two
There's few as suffer such hardship as Sheffield grinders do

When the country goes to war then our masters quickly cry
All orders countermanded our goods we must lay by
Our prices we must settle and you'll be stinted too
There's few as suffer such hardship as Sheffield grinders do

For many's the poor grinder who,s family is large
With all his best endeavours cannot his debts discharge
When his children cry for bread how pitiful the view
There's few as suffer such hardship as Sheffield grinders do

And every working day he is breathing dust and steel
and a broken stone can give a man a wound that will not heal
There's many a man among us cut down by such a blow
There's few as suffer such hardship as Sheffield grinders do

rpt vv 1


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 10:53 AM

Thanks to everyone who has helped. All I have to do know is learn the words.

Cheers people


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 11:37 AM

Malcolm

I see that I didn't deprive you after all. My version must have been trimmed down to fit the play.

AWM


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHEFFIELD GRINDER
From: GUEST,Jane Bernal
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 02:37 PM

I learned this version from the Sheffield part of the Woodcraft Folk delegation to the world Youth Festival Sofia 1968. I'm not sure if it is traditional or written for a theatre show in the 60s. Does anyone out there know?

To be a Sheffield grinder it is no easy trade.
There's more than you'd imagine in the grinding of a blade.
The strongest man amongst us is old at 32.

CHORUS: There are few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.

When our country goes to war, then our masters quickly say,
"Orders countermanded," our work they'll all lay by.
Your prices you must settle and you'll be stinted too. CHORUS

And every working day, we are breathing dust and steel,
And a broken stone can give us a wound that will not heal.
There's many an honest grinder struck down by such a blow. CHORUS

There's many an honest grinder who's thus been snatched away,
Without one moment's warning to meet his judgement day.
Before his judge he must appear, his final doom to know. CHORUS

There's many an honest grinder whose family is large,
With all his best endeavours cannot his debts discharge.
When children cry for bread, how pitiful the view. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 03:33 PM

It is as I said above (though the posts are out of sequence now): early part of the 19th century. It was used in Alan Cullen's play The Stirrings in Sheffield on Saturday Night as also mentioned; there it was set to a new tune by Roderick Horn.

As to whether it's strictly speaking "traditional" (outside the Grinders' Misfortune Society, that is; and however long that lasted), I don't know; the words I quoted were taken from John Wilson's edition of The Songs of Joseph Mather (1862) and published without music (and minus the first verse above) in Paul Smith, David Spalding and Frank Sutton's Cum All Yo Cutlin Heroes: Songs from Sheffield and District (Sheffield City Museum, 1967). Apparently David Spalding also set a tune to it, but I don't know what that was. The use of Tramps and Hawkers was Paul Davenport's idea, I think.

There's no indication that Mather (who died in 1804) wrote the words, which were included in a separate section of "miscellaneous songs relating to Sheffield". The song seems to have been long forgotten until its revival in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 03:43 PM

Since this thread started out nearly four years ago, the following piece has become available online:

http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~exy1/fh_material/cutlery_and_cutlers.html

The article is from the English Illustrated Magazine for August 1884: 'Cutlery and Cutlers at Sheffield', by Henry J Palmer. It includes some information about the Grinders Misfortune Society and quotes a verse of the song, explaining that a "dairy-maid is the slang of the hull for the water-wheel".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 11:44 AM

What an amazing thread to stumble accross!!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: To Be a Sheffield Grinder
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 04:15 PM

This and other Sheffield songs with tunes can be found in 'The South Riding Song Book' SRFAN 1997
http://www.hallamtrads.co.uk/Sales.html
Hope that's of some use.
Paul


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sheffield Grinder / Grinder's Hardships
From: GUEST,Andymac
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 04:18 AM

I've just come across a version of the Grinder's Hardship sung by Tony Capstick, recorded live in Edinburgh in 1979. Realising it wasn't the Sheffield Grinder, I came here looking for but not really expecting to find the words. And what do I find, not only the words but the history as well. Good old mudcat comes up trumps again!

At the risk of sounding melancholy it makes me realise again what a loss to us all Malcolm' early passing was.

Andy


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHEFFIELD GRINDER (from Roy Bailey)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 08:53 PM

This version follows fairly closely the one posted by Jane Bernal above, except for one additional verse. I have boldfaced the words that are different.


SHEFFIELD GRINDER
As recorded by Roy Bailey on "Sit Down & Sing"

To be a Sheffield grinder it is no easy trade.
There's more than you'd imagine in the grinding of a blade.
The strongest man amongst us is old at thirty-two.
There's few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.

When the country goes to war, our masters quickly cry,
"Orders countermanded," our goods we all lay by.
Your prices we must settle and you'll be stinted too.
There's few who suffer such hardships as we poor grinders do.

And ev'ry working day, we are breathing dust and steel,
And a broken stone can give us a wound that will not heal.
There's many an honest grinder ground down by such a blow.
There's few that brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.

There's many a poor grinder who's thus been snatched away,
Without a moment's warning to meet his judgement day.
Before his judge he must appear, his final doom to know.
There's few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.

There's many a poor grinder whose family is large,
With all his best endeavours cannot his debts discharge.
When children cry for bread, oh, how pitiful the view,
Though few can bear such hardships as we poor grinders do.

And now I will conclude these few and humble lines
With success to all grinders who suffer in hard times.
I wish them better fortune and all their families too.
There are few who bear such hardships as we poor grinders do.
I wish them better fortune and all their families too.
There are few who bear such hardships as we poor grinders do.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GRINDERS' HARDSHIPS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 09:49 PM

Lyrics and footnotes from The Songs of Joseph Mather: To Which Are Added a Memoir and Miscellaneous Songs Relating to Sheffield by Joseph Mather (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford, Printers, 1862), page 112:


THE GRINDERS' HARDSHIPS.*

It happened in the year eighteen hundred and five,
From May-day to Christmas the season was quite dry,
That all our oldest grinders such a time never knew,
For there's few who brave the hardships that we poor grinders do.
    For there's few, &c.

In summer time we can't work till water does appear,
And if this does not happen the season is severe:
Then our fingers are numb'd by keen winter frosts or snow,
And few can brave the hardships that we poor grinders do.
    And few, &c.

When war is proclaimed our masters quickly cry,
"Orders countermanded," our goods we all lay by;
Your prices we must sattle, and you'll be stinted too—
There's few suffer such hardships as we poor grinders do.
    There's few, &c.

There seldom comes a day but our dairy-maid** goes wrong.
And if that does not happen, perhaps we break a stone,
Which may wound us for life or give us our final blow,
For there's few that brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
    For there's few, &c.

There's many a poor grinder who's thus been snatched away
Without a moment's warning to meet the Judgment day;
Before his Judge he must appear, his final doom to know—
There are few who brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
    There's few, &c.

Thus many a poor grinder, whose family is large,
That with his best endeavours cannot his debts discharge,
When children cry for bread, how pitiful the view,
Though few can brave such hardships as we poor grinders do.
    Though few, &c.

So now I must conclude these few humble rhymes
With "Success to all grinders" who suffer in hard times;
I wish them better fortune—their families the same,
And may we never experience such hardships again.
By being further stinted and paying discount too,
There are few who brave such hardships as we grinders do.
    There are few, &c.

* This song has never before been printed. The author of it is unknown; but as a "fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind," I can sympathize with the "poor grinders." It is probable the song was written by some of the first members of the "Grinders' Misfortune Society," established at Crookes, August 20th, 1804. The present secretary (Mr. Jonathan Wragg) informs me that many years ago the song used to be sung at their annual festivals, the members heartily joining in chorus. I am obliged to him for the song as well as a copy of the society's rules. It is very creditable to the grinders (who have always been considered a reckless body of men) to have supported a society for the relief of their misfortunes; and that, after nearly 60 years' experience, it enjoys all the vigour of its youth.

** The waterwheel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sheffield Grinder / Grinder's Hardships
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 17 Jul 13 - 06:31 AM

Then, ahem, there's this one:

Sheffield Scythe Grinder (Not that one!)

Tone


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