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The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner

17 Aug 97 - 11:41 PM (#10610)
Subject: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Dave Brennan

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


18 Aug 97 - 03:42 AM (#10623)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Alan of Australia

"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


18 Aug 97 - 03:50 AM (#10624)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From:

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-


18 Aug 97 - 04:41 AM (#10628)
Subject: Lyr Add: TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW (F Higgins)
From: Joe Offer

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-


18 Aug 97 - 04:51 AM (#10629)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Alan of Oz

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


18 Aug 97 - 05:05 AM (#10633)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Joe Offer

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-


21 Aug 97 - 07:21 PM (#11011)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Dave Brennan

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.


22 Aug 97 - 03:13 PM (#11053)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: johnk

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


22 Aug 97 - 04:20 PM (#11056)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Barry Finn

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


19 Jun 00 - 02:31 PM (#244540)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: GUEST,paul c/o dawnfook@supanet.com

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


19 Jun 00 - 03:35 PM (#244572)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: Malcolm Douglas

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

Malcolm


20 Jun 00 - 05:29 PM (#245080)
Subject: Origins: TESTIMONY OF PATIENCE KERSHAW
From: Susanne (skw)

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')


20 Jun 00 - 07:37 PM (#245131)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: GUEST,bigJ

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!


21 Jun 00 - 12:42 AM (#245268)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal m
From: WyoWoman

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


30 Mar 04 - 09:50 AM (#1149979)
Subject: child labour photos
From: GUEST,sadashivan

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


30 Mar 04 - 10:30 AM (#1150014)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Stilly River Sage

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


30 Mar 04 - 10:44 AM (#1150027)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Strollin' Johnny

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.


30 Mar 04 - 10:47 AM (#1150035)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: breezy

Roy Bailey performs it very well


30 Mar 04 - 11:00 AM (#1150048)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Strollin' Johnny

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


01 Apr 04 - 04:19 PM (#1152235)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal min
From: GUEST,TC

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??


01 Apr 04 - 04:48 PM (#1152258)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Willa

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!)


01 Apr 04 - 06:43 PM (#1152354)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

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.


01 Apr 04 - 10:54 PM (#1152484)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: rich-joy

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


06 Apr 04 - 11:31 PM (#1156266)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal min
From: Desert Dancer

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


07 Apr 04 - 03:51 AM (#1156336)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

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.


14 Jul 04 - 12:00 PM (#1225328)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Bill D

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!


14 Jul 04 - 02:49 PM (#1225430)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: BB

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

Barbara


14 Jul 04 - 05:59 PM (#1225586)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher

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


15 Jul 04 - 06:52 AM (#1225927)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,padgett

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


15 Jul 04 - 07:00 AM (#1225933)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,padgett

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


15 Jul 04 - 07:05 AM (#1225935)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford

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.


15 Jul 04 - 07:11 AM (#1225941)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: LilyFestre

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


15 Jul 04 - 07:29 AM (#1225947)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: shepherdlass

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.


15 Jul 04 - 04:40 PM (#1226409)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: AggieD

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.


17 Aug 04 - 01:40 PM (#1249531)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: GUEST,Anne Price

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?


17 Aug 04 - 03:55 PM (#1249629)
Subject: RE: Lyrics: song about child labor & girl coal miner
From: Little Robyn

Ellie Osborne does a stunning version too.
Robyn


18 Aug 04 - 11:45 AM (#1250430)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: Big Jim from Jackson

WyoWoman, as you can see by the above, all the versions of this powerful song appear to be well done. Like Bill D above, I am very partial to Gary and Vera Aspey's version of this song.


13 Jun 06 - 02:38 AM (#1758641)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: Emma B

lest we forget
Yesterday was World Child Labour Day

FOUR PENCE A DAY

The ore is waiting in the tubs the snow's upon the fell
Canny folk are sleeping yet but lead is reet to sell
Come me little washer lad come let's awa
We're bound down to slavery for four pence a day

It's early in the morning we rise at five o'clock
And the little slaves come to the door to knock, knock, knock
Come me little washer lad, come let's awa
It's very hard to work for four pence a day

My father was a miner and lived down in the town
Twas hard work and poverty that always kept him down
He aimed for me to go to school, but brass he could not pay
So i had to go to the washing rake for four pence a day

My mother rises out of bed with tears on her cheeks
Puts my wallet on my shoulders, which has to serve a week
It often fills her great big heart when she unto me does say
I never thought you would have worked for four pence a day

Fourpence a day, me lads, and very hard to work
And never a pleasant look from a gruffy looking Turk
His conscience it may fall and his heart it may give way
Then he'll raise our wages to nine pence a day

see also FOURPND
@work @mining
sung by MacColl on Steamwhistle Ballads
filename[ FOURPENC
TUNE FILE: FOURPND
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF


13 Jun 06 - 07:23 AM (#1758743)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: sapper82

People who slag off Victorian Values ought to bear in mind that it was them who first took effective action against such evils as are described here.


13 Jun 06 - 07:34 AM (#1758750)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kersha
From: Paul Burke

The Victorians weren't any more unanimous than we are. There were people promoting social values from the 17th century onwards, and before. But until political reforms allowed ordinary people to apply pressure, it was easy for the free-market theorists to oppose any interference with economic "inevitability". The Reform Act riots of the 1830s, the Chartist movement, the Co-Op movement, the early trades unions, many such actions whichseemed to fail at the time laid the foundations for long- term improvement. And it was mainly the threat of communism that brought in the welfare state. It's noticeable that the reforms are being rolled slowly back, a bit at a time so you don't notice it, now that the Soviet bloc has gone.


29 Jan 07 - 10:39 AM (#1951230)
Subject: Ideas?
From: GUEST,Hillary

My class and I are creating a performance piece centered around child labor. We are looking for work songs and other artistic elements to use. Any ideas or sources? Ideally, we'd love to find someplace online where we can listen to songs&lyrics written by or about children at work (any time andy place).
Thanks


21 Jul 09 - 12:40 PM (#2684537)
Subject: What's up- my first post
From: GUEST,BlueHornet

This look interesting,so far.
If it's not just all bots here, let me know. I'm looking to network
Oh, and yes I'm a real person LOL.

Later,


22 Jul 09 - 08:19 AM (#2685204)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: SINSULL

"Babies In The Mill" by Dorsey Dixon is another worth hearing. But I think Patience was right - the mill was preferable to the mine.


22 Jul 09 - 06:39 PM (#2685576)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: Joe_F

George Orwell wrote, in 1937:

"It is not long since conditions in the mines were worse than they are now. There are still living a few very old women who in their youth have worked underground, with the harness round their waists, and a chain that passed between their legs, crawling on all fours and dragging tubs of coal. They used to go on doing this even when they were pregnant. And even now, if coal could not be produced without pregnant women dragging it to and fro, I fancy we should let them do it rather than deprive ourselves of coal. But -- most of the time, of course, we should prefer to forget that they were doing it...."

(_The Road to Wigan Pier_)


23 Jul 09 - 02:39 AM (#2685756)
Subject: RE: child labor & girl coal miner (Patience Kershaw)
From: r.padgett

I do think that there is a song called "Jamie's been murdered by the overseers" mills and child labour

This was on a Derbyshire recording certainly involving Mick Peat probably Ripley Wayfarers

Also Poverty Knocks (see Yorkshire Garland website yorkshirefolksong.net women in mills fromn young age

Re Patience Kershaw incident at Huskar Pit, Silkstone nr Barnsley occurred in 1838, took until 1842 for the inquiry to take place into children and women working in the mines ~ in which the details of Patience Kershaw became encapsulated. It is a stunning song, made popular by Roy Bailey and sung by Kathryn Roberts being most local to the events

Ray


24 Jul 09 - 02:56 AM (#2686576)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: doc.tom

Some-one asked about the rights. The song was first published in 'Festival Folk' by EFDS Publishing in the 1970s (never got a copy so can't fnd the date). So your enquiries should start with Malcolm Taylor, the librarian for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House.


24 Jul 09 - 05:32 AM (#2686643)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: GUEST,padgett on lap top

Thanks Tom, hope to include it in Yorkshire Garland, with Hilary Simpson already recorded singing and provenance done too

Ray


11 Oct 09 - 03:42 PM (#2743638)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: 2581

Enoch Kent does a fine version of "The Testimony of Patience Kershaw" as well.


11 Oct 09 - 04:51 PM (#2743673)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Folkiedave

Unthank's latest record has a version.


11 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM (#2743695)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Herga Kitty

Re Padgett's post of 23 July - Nic Jones, when he was with the Halliard, set a tune to a Birmingham broadside ballad called the Workhouse Boy.

The chorus goes, "And we all of us say it, and we say it with sneers, Jamie's been murdered by the overseers". It isn't clear whether this is about child labour though, it could be about recycling workhouse children as soup, though the mention of breeches in the soup copper suggests that Jamie might have fallen in while working in the kitchen. I used to sing it with Mick Pearce.

Kitty


11 Oct 09 - 05:24 PM (#2743701)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Herga Kitty

I just googled on the Workhouse Boy, and found the words here
with an acknowledgment that they came from Mudcat, so I guess it's in the DT!

Kitty


11 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM (#2743786)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

The Workhouse Boy is here: Workhouse Boy - DT.

There are three copies in the Bodleian; here's one printed in Birmingham: The Workhouse Boy - Pratt of Birmingham. The broadside texts make it clear that he fell in the soup while trying to get some more:

  To gain his fill, the boy did stoop,
  And dreadful to tell he vas boiled in the soup.


Mick


12 Oct 09 - 03:43 AM (#2743953)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

There's also a thread: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy.

Mick


12 Oct 09 - 12:59 PM (#2744232)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Folkiedave

The Workhouse Boy, a new one on me I must confess, is very similar to the Mistletoe Bough, sharing many of the same phrases and clearly fitting the same tune. i don't know Nic Jones tune.

Since the Mistletoe Bough is usually dated 1884 I would imagine the Broadside is the earlier one.


12 Oct 09 - 02:09 PM (#2744287)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

I think the Mistletoe Bough is earlier than that Dave. Bayly died in 1839, and I think I've seen 1820 as a date for The Mistletoe Bough (though a play of that name dates from 1834, so it may be later). The dated copies of The Workhouse Boy at the Bodleian only definitely put it before 1844 I think (though with an earliest possible date as 1819), and the copy titles The Vorkhouse Boy gives The Mistletoe Bough as the tune. I suspect The Workhouse Boy was modelled on the Mistletoe Bough rather than the other way round.

Mick


12 Oct 09 - 07:17 PM (#2744514)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Folkiedave

Thanks for that. I took the site as gospel. Slaps back of hand and writes out 100 times CHECK!!

You have to be correct. Then along comes........................


13 Oct 09 - 06:02 PM (#2745318)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Steve Gardham

The Vorkhouse Boy was most definitely a parody of Bayly's 'Mistletoe Bough'. It was actually advertised as such.


13 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM (#2745331)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Folkiedave

Just the man I was expecting to appear!!

Are you coming across for Malcolm Day?

Matin and Shan are staying with us Sunday night.


13 Oct 09 - 06:11 PM (#2745335)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: MoorleyMan

Thread-creep-galore Alert here....


14 Oct 09 - 10:17 AM (#2745540)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: GUEST,padgett on lap top

Workhouse boy ~ I believe was recorded by one of Mick Peats groups? I have somewhere on vinyl

Creep on!

Ray


14 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM (#2746084)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: rich-joy

for words of "The Collier Lass" (as mentioned in this thread), see :

thread.cfm?threadid=114888#2454721


Cheers,
R-J


20 Sep 11 - 11:17 AM (#3226080)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

My daughter wants to do this song (Testimony of Patience Kershaw), but I hate the Unthanks' arrangement and the only other one I can find on YouTube is a gentleman called Crook whose version I find less than compelling. Can anyone point me to other available audio versions, or do I have to start hunting down the various recorded versions mentioned above CD by CD, record collectors' shop by record collectors' shop?


20 Sep 11 - 11:21 AM (#3226082)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

I did find an unaccompanied version by Elle Osborne on the internet


20 Sep 11 - 11:56 AM (#3226109)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Anne Neilson

If you can read music, it might be just as well for your daughter to work the song up from the dots -- that way she can make her own choices about pacing, rhythm, emphasis etc., and the end result would probably be far more satisfactory than a clone copy.
It's a great song, and would be well worth the effort.


20 Sep 11 - 11:57 AM (#3226110)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Bill D

I have a version...see PMs


20 Sep 11 - 12:12 PM (#3226114)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

Thanks Bill

EKanne - we can both determine pitch very slowly from dots but find timing very hard indeed. We have I think generally avoided "clone" versions of things


20 Sep 11 - 12:27 PM (#3226124)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Grampus

Excellent version to be found on Gary & Vera Aspey's 1979 LP 'Seeing Double'. Also another good version, by the Ian Campbell Folk Group, on their 1972 LP 'Something to sing about'
HTH
G.


20 Sep 11 - 12:46 PM (#3226129)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

I have some Ian Campbell vinyl - must check...


20 Sep 11 - 12:48 PM (#3226130)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Matthew Edwards

There's a very good version by Mudcatter RichardfromLiverpool on his Liverpool Folk Song a Week blog:- Patience Kershaw.

Matthew


20 Sep 11 - 07:04 PM (#3226298)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

I like the Aspey version best so far.


21 Sep 11 - 03:05 AM (#3226457)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Anne Neilson

Vera Aspey's version is the first I heard - in the early '70s, I think - and it stunned a last night folk festival audience. It was so honest, so raw, and so RIGHT.
IMO, you couldn't look for a better model.


21 Sep 11 - 04:14 AM (#3226469)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Grampus

Seconded. Vera's a very under rated singer IMO
G.


21 Sep 11 - 04:18 AM (#3226471)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Acorn4

In fact, I think I'm right in saying that the testimony was part of the evidence produced for a Parliamentary Commission which led to the passing of the Mines Act in 1842, so in spite of the tragedy of the evidence, there was a good outcome.


21 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM (#3226474)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Ana

Interesting to see this thread resurrected. Just today I was listening to some older CD's and was remembering this one of MacAlias "Winter Sun". Lovely sad song.

www.ltscotland.org.uk/scotlandssongs/secondary/genericcontent_tcm4572921.asp


21 Sep 11 - 05:02 AM (#3226485)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: stallion

There is no doubt that there were some rightous people around but please do not be kidded into thinking it was all altruistic, the loading of ships and the safety of ships was more to do with the Lloyds names not being skanked out their capital every time a ship went down and dressed up as welfare for sailors, sewers were installed into cities because it was proved that the money spent on fitting could be recovered within three years and move into further profit with increased productivity. Free milk was introduced into schools because during the first world war half the volunteers (uk) were suffering from ricketts and were unfit for service. The real benefits to the working classes owe as much to insurance companies, like the introduction of a fire service, than some altruistic desire to improve Joe Bloggs life. Indeed if you look at the real benefits like shorter working hours, they were hard won by the trade unions, my father worked a six day week until the unions negotiated it away (in the 1950's, probably post were fears of revolution). The Welfare state and the destruction of the workhouse, as someone has already pointed out was pay back time for making two generations of grafters into cannon fodder. So don't be kidded into thinking there isn't an ulterior motive, if you look hard enough you will find something like not enough women in the mills which needed maybe dexterity, I don't really know but I could make it a mission to find out, don't really have the time. There is a Yorkshire saying "Tha don't get owt fer nowt" and the oft quoted phrase "If it sounds too good to be true it usually is". So harrowing as The Testimony is you can bet that the principal aim was not to improve the life of the workers but an excercise to manipulate the economics of the supply in the workforce. Horses for courses however right or wrong the rationale was behind it.


21 Sep 11 - 05:04 AM (#3226487)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Herga Kitty

In case this helps, The Testimony of Patience Kershaw was included in "My Song is My Own" - an anthology of 100 women's songs put together by Kathy Henderson, Frankie Armstrong and Sandra Kerr, and published by Pluto Press in 1979. The note says that the song was written by Frank Higgins in 1969, based on testimony given by 17-year old Patience Kershaw to the Royal Commission on Children's Employment, 1842. It was reproduced by kind permission of EFDS Publications Ltd (Chappell & Co Ltd).

Kitty


21 Sep 11 - 05:57 AM (#3226504)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: MGM·Lion

~~So don't be kidded into thinking there isn't an ulterior motive, if you look hard enough you will find something~~

No, stallion ~ you will; because that is your cynical self-righteous lefty mindset. We don't all want to 'look hard enough'. Those like you remind me of the woman who complained to the police that she could see her male neighbour undressing, and when the officer they sent round said he couldn't see anything, replied, "Oh, you have to stand on that chair."

There's just no satisfying some people!

~M~


21 Sep 11 - 06:06 AM (#3226507)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Keith A of Hertford

The campaign to end child labour was run by altruists, often people of strong faith.
Unions had yet to become a powerful force for change.


21 Sep 11 - 06:22 AM (#3226512)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Keith A of Hertford

Robert Owen, reformer (child labour in factories.)
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/IRowen.htm


21 Sep 11 - 06:38 AM (#3226518)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Keith A of Hertford

"Mother bides at home, she is troubled with bad breath, and is sair weak in her body from early labour. I am wrought with sister and brother, it is very sore work; cannot say how many rakes or journeys I make from pit's bottom to wall face and back, thinks about 30 or 25 on the average; the distance varies from 100 to 250 fathom. I carry about 1 cwt. and a quarter on my back; have to stoop much and creep through water, which is frequently up to the calves of my legs." (Isabella Read, 12 years old, coal-bearer, testimony gathered by Ashley's Mines Commission 1842)[21]

"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 thirty, the youngest is four; three lasses go to 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. 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 five o'clock in the morning and come out at five in the evening; 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.; I hurry 11 a-day; I wear a belt and chain at the workings, to get the corves out;" (Patience Kershaw, 17 years old, coal-bearer, testimony gathered by Ashley's Mines Commission 1842)[21]

Children as young as four were put to work. In coal mines children began work at the age of 5 and generally died before the age of 25. Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. As early as 1802 and 1819, Factory Acts were passed to limit the working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day.


21 Sep 11 - 06:51 AM (#3226524)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Richard Bridge

Is 300 cwt an error? I can not envisage the burden being 15 long tons.


30 Sep 11 - 04:13 PM (#3231863)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: 2581

In addition to Elle Osborne & the Ian Campbell Folk Group, Enoch Kent does a powerful a cappella version in his album "For The Women". Sally Rogers also does an a cappella version in her album "Generations". Personally I like the Unthanks' version better than any other I have heard.


30 Sep 11 - 06:49 PM (#3231932)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Alio

Thanks for the info Suzanne - I've sung it many times and always found it very emotional, but that brings it even more to life! Wonderful song.
Ali x


30 Sep 11 - 06:58 PM (#3231944)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: Desert Dancer

Richard, wasn't the weight was in a car on a track? More possible that way.

~ Becky in Long Beach


01 Oct 11 - 02:27 PM (#3232258)
Subject: RE: The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner
From: GUEST

Richard - Agree with you on the Unthanks.

HAve a listen to Roy Baileys version - not sure which LP but reissued in 92 on compilation CD

Dead straight - most compelling. Made me go and look it up the first time I heard it and that was in the proto-web years. Fantastic history lesson - "God bless you sir at least you tried".

Write and ask him ... shy bairns get nowt