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CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song

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CANDY MAN
CANDY MAN 2


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John Routledge 21 Nov 01 - 08:11 PM
Tweed 21 Nov 01 - 08:32 PM
Noreen 21 Nov 01 - 08:34 PM
John Routledge 21 Nov 01 - 08:38 PM
John Routledge 21 Nov 01 - 08:44 PM
Tweed 21 Nov 01 - 08:47 PM
John Routledge 21 Nov 01 - 08:57 PM
Tweed 21 Nov 01 - 09:02 PM
Noreen 21 Nov 01 - 10:09 PM
Roughyed 22 Nov 01 - 12:30 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Nov 01 - 01:23 AM
Gareth 22 Nov 01 - 06:47 PM
Tweed 22 Nov 01 - 07:56 PM
John Routledge 22 Nov 01 - 08:10 PM
8_Pints 23 Nov 01 - 04:47 PM
bill\sables 23 Nov 01 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Ken Richardson 01 Aug 19 - 02:53 PM
Thompson 01 Aug 19 - 05:40 PM
Mo the caller 02 Aug 19 - 11:49 AM
Gordon Jackson 03 Aug 19 - 08:30 AM
GUEST 03 Aug 19 - 01:34 PM
Gordon Jackson 03 Aug 19 - 02:19 PM
GUEST 04 Aug 19 - 05:17 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Aug 19 - 06:45 AM
Nigel Parsons 04 Aug 19 - 11:10 AM
Nigel Parsons 04 Aug 19 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Aug 19 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Aug 19 - 05:22 PM
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Subject: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: John Routledge
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:11 PM

The Tommy Armstrong song Oakey Strike Evictions refers to "TWENTY CANDYMEN" who were used to evict miners from their homes.

Can anyone throw any light on why they were called candymen. Thanks Geordie John


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Tweed
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:32 PM

I did a google and found this bit of info at The Northwest Durham and Derwent Valley History Site


Despite poor and dangerous working conditions, low pay and long hours, the often tyranical coal owners of the last century would not hesitate to resort to such measures as eviction to deal with miners' strikes. The `candymen' employed by the coal owners to evict the miners were disreputable characters of the lowest order, brought in from the docksides of the large towns in the region. Described as "low, mean ragged fellows", the "yelling, shouting, and tinpanning together with the pitiful cries of children had no effect on these inhuman beings employed to do this work".

Doesn't say why "candymen" name would be linked to a "mean and ragged fellow" though.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Noreen
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:34 PM

Digitrad and Forum search brings up this and this


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: John Routledge
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:38 PM

Many thanks for the site Tweed.

Your quote certainly conjures up vivid images. John


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: John Routledge
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:44 PM

Thanks Noreen - Your first link provided the answer. Problem Solved - The thugs gave the children candy as part of the eviction process.John


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Tweed
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:47 PM

You got me curious now! Why the heck were those characters associated with candy? I'm still lookin'...


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: John Routledge
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:57 PM

Sorry - misread Noreen's link.

Some of the men employed in the eviction process were street traders who would normally sell candy in other towns. Hence the label of candymen used in a derogatory sense!! John


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Tweed
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 09:02 PM

I'd never heard of any of this before, Thanks to both of you, I'm headed back in for more. Tommy Armstrong is a new one to me.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Noreen
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 10:09 PM

Both links give the answer, which is why I supplied them.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Roughyed
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 12:30 AM

Interesting thread. The word candy I have always heard used mainly as an American word. I was brought up (around Manchester) using the word toffees and then as an adult the word sweets. We had specific uses for particular things like cough candy and candy floss but it's not a word we would have generally used. Is it more common in the North East or has it been replaced in England?


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 01:23 AM

Candy to me has always meant boiled sugar confectionery, candy canes have always been candy canes never sugar sticks... same with candy floss - which is why I can never get enough chocolate in the States, because I see candy and I think 'boiled sweets'....

LTS


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 06:47 PM

Interesting - as a bit of Social History the "tied house" was a feared place in South Wales - precicely for that reason. Speaking with the older generations over the years there was this attempt, at all costs, to avoid the tied cottage, as these houses gave the mine owners another weapon.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Tweed
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 07:56 PM

Why "tied cottages"? Was it because the workers were tied to them?


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: John Routledge
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 08:10 PM

The cottages were tied to the job rather than the worker. John


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: 8_Pints
Date: 23 Nov 01 - 04:47 PM

I was discussing my memories of rag and bone men with my mum this week (she's 86) and she was telling me about the practice of them giving sweets or balloons to the children but I had never made the connection to candy men! Fascinating. She also told me about the "pot men" that used to push their carts around the streets of Manchester too. They would give out cups or plates in return for rags - or if you had a lot of rags you could get a cooking pot made of brown earthenware - sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Sue vG


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: bill\sables
Date: 23 Nov 01 - 05:38 PM

When I was a kid, after the days of nationalisation of the coal mines, in the colliery village of Dipton in North West Durham we used to eat sweets which were usually called "bullets" this term refered to any sweet including chocolate. You can still buy "Black Bullets" in Newcastle area. We also had "candy rock" which was usually a pink mint flavoured rock which can be found at every seaside resort in the country now known as "seaside rock". According to my father,who lived through the troubled years of the miners struggle for better wages, the "Candy Men were usually rag and bone men or carters who had little in common with the miners, and were employed by the mine owners and balifs. Their job was to help evict the miners with strong arm tactics. As rag and bone men they usually gave away "Claggy Taffy"(sticky toffee) to the kids who collected rags for them so it seems reasonable that they should have been called "Claggy Taffy Men" but they were always known in the region as "Candy Men". When I was a kid they gave away goldfish which always seemed to die the next day.
The next village to mine was Tantoby which was Tommy Armstrong's village and my faher and uncles were "Boosing Palls" of Tommy. As far as I can see Tommy wrote of candymen in the song mentioned earlier "Oakies Strike Evictions" and also in the song "South Meadomsley Strike" which was about evictions at a Dipton pit in 1885
Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: GUEST,Ken Richardson
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 02:53 PM

An old song I still sing goes like this :
No lads Aa've left the colliery
Started working for mesel'
To be a travellin candy man
Divent Aa look swell.
When Aa gans out in the morning
To pick up on me roonds
Aal the bairns come gatherin
With their mothers' nighty goons
Wey, tha knaas aa daesna tek them
For fear that aal get wrang
So Aa just blaa me trumpet
And doon the lanes Aa gan
Singin
Hare skins, rabbit skins
Bits o'brass, brokken glass
Hi for the Candy Man


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Thompson
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 05:40 PM

A tied cottage is a house that serves as part of your wage. For instance, if you work as a park ranger - gardening in the park, providing security, opening and closing the gates at set times, minding any animals associated with the park, and so on - you're liable to be given a house inside the park.
Since you don't have to pay rent, your wages are lower in proportion.
The disadvantage is that you can't save to buy a house, and the fact that you have a secure place to live means that you're liable to let this slip, especially as your wages are relatively low to balance the "free" house.
Vicarages are another example: when the vicar dies, his widow and children are liable to be turfed out so the next incumbent can move into the house with his or her family.
It's a potent weapon in the hands of a paternalistic or bullying boss.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Mo the caller
Date: 02 Aug 19 - 11:49 AM

Tied housing has advantages as well as disadvantages. In a job like farm worker in a rural area with poor public transport and odd hours, workers at hand are necessary. But then someone has a problem if a worker dies or retires. Either the farmer because he has nowhere to house his new worker, or the retiree or widow.
Vicars too, move around the country, and the vicarage is often partly used for church business.

I suppose more workers have cars than in my young days, so not so necessary to be near, but livestock needs attention early & late & in emergencies.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 08:30 AM

bill\sables
I don't know if John Routledge is still search for the answer to his question, but according to Bert Lloyd, referencing Tommy Armstrong’s son, the song was the result of a song-making competition in Tanfield, County Durham. Of the song, Lloyd says ‘The owners [of Oakey Colliery] had decided to evict strikers who were living in colliery-owned cottages, and they scoured the slums of Newcastle and Gateshead for layabouts and riffraff (‘candymen’ are rag-and-bone merchants) to help move the pitmen’s furniture out into the street.’


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 01:34 PM

I heard one story that a son of TOMMY ARMSTRONG was not pleased about a book referencing the man's stay in Durham jail as influencing his song about the jail, which is otherwise well referenced.
Maybe it was a different relative, but some of Lloyd's alleged sources are a bit doubtful....
'CANDY MAN' as explained by Taj Mahal in its 21stC context is a drug dealer


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 02:19 PM

My source was Folk Song in England; Lloyd makes no mention of this.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 05:17 AM

from Tommy Armstrong's song about the strike at South Medomsley-

'Fisick* was determined some more tyranny to show
And for to get some candymen he wandered to & fro-
He made his way to Consett+ & he saw Postick** the bum,
He knew he liked such dirty jobs & he was sure to come'

* mine manager **thug recruiter +nearby town


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 06:45 AM

From Farmer and Henly's Dictionary of Slaang and Coloquial English (1920s)
Candyman. A bailiff, a process server. [In 1863, during a strike of miners at the collieries of Messrs. Strakers and Love, in Durham County, a hawker of candy and sweetmeats was employed to serve writs of ejectment.]

Interesting quote here from 'Bonny Pit Laddie Album'
"The South Medomsley Strike
The strike which occurred at the South Medomsley Colliery in 1885 was typical of many skirmishes that punctuate the history of the coal industry. The sliding scale, a wage system arrived at by the coalowners with the connivance or at least the acquiescence of the Durham Miners' Association, which tied wages to a so-called "county average" production and resulted, as usual, in many abuses, was being fought against. The coalowners resorted to their usual tactic of eviction and "candymen", street-corner layabouts of dubious provenance were hired in Consett to assist the Bailiff with the police in attendance to prevent any illegal interference on the part of the miners. Usually they contrived to break some of the pitmen's possessions during the course of the event. After about a week of camping-out the miners were forced back to work. The song was written by Tommy Armstrong of Tanfield, the bard of the North- West Durham coalfield, who was working at the nearby colliery of South Pontop about that time."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 11:10 AM

With the descriptions above showing 'candymen' as disreputable sorts, why would they be thought of with pleasure by the singer of Cushie Butterfield? :

Her eyes is like two holes in a blanket burnt through
Her brows in a morning would spyen a young cow
And when t' hear her shouting Will you buy any clay?
Like a candyman's trumpet it steals my heart away


Just a thought which might need clarification.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 11:18 AM

Having thought further, this is of course based on the candymen who actually sold candy, before the term became debased to refer to bailiffs.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 05:18 PM

Nigel: My Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang supports your view except that it doesn't say it was the bailiffs themselves, but the people who served the process papers/notice. Small difference I admit.


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Subject: RE: CANDYMEN - Meaning in UK song
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 05:22 PM

Just out of interest, we never used the word 'candy' as a generic term for 'sweets', though there was 'candy floss'. I always took it to be an American term when used in the generic way.


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