Radical Balladry: The Meadomsley Strike

Ballad Seller pic

As an example of the way traditional working class music and poetry could still have power and relevance today, Jess in one of her comments to another of my posts on radical working class music and poetry posted this piece about the South Medomsley miners’strike of 1885:

“If you’re inclined te hear a song, aa’ll sing a verse or two,
And when Aa’m done yer gan’ te see that every word is true;
The miners of South Medomsley they never will forget
Fisick and his tyranny and how they have been tret;
For in the midst of danger, these hardy sons did toil,
For te earn their daily bread se far beneath the soil.
Te make an honest livelihood each miner did contrive,
But ye shall hear how they were served in eighteen eighty five.

Chorus.
The miners of South Medomsley they ‘re gannin te mek some
stew
They ‘re gannin’ te boil fat Postick and his dorty candy crew,
The maistors should have nowt but soup as long as their alive
In memory of their dorty tricks in eighteen eighty five.

Below the county average then the men was ten percent,
Yet Fisick the unfeelin’ cur he couldn’t rest content;
A ten percent reduction from the men he did demand,
But such a strong request as this the miners couldn’t stand.
The notices was aall served oot and when they had expired,
Aall the gear was brought te bank, and the final shot was fired;
Te hurt his honest working men this low lived man did strive,
He’ll often rue for what he did in eighteen eighty five.

Fisick was determined more tyranny te show,
For te get some candymen he wandered to and fro’
He made his way te Consett, and he saw Postick, the bum,
He knew he liked such dirty work and he was sure te come.
Fisick telled him what te de and were te gan and when,
So at the time appointed, Postick landed with his men,
With pollisses and candy men the place was all alive,
All through the strike that Fisick caused in eithteen eighty five.

Commander Postick gave the word, they started with their
work,
Though they were done at five O’clock, they dursent stop till
dark,
And when they’d done aall they could and finished for the
day,
The bobbies guarded Postick and his dorty dogs away.
Fisick was a tyrant and the owners was the same,
For the torn oot of the strike, they were the men to blame,
Neither them nor Postick need expect they’ll ever thrive,
For what they did to Dipton Men in eighteen eighty five”.
Tommy Armstrong
http://www.pitmanpoet.org.uk/SongsAndPoems/TheSouthMedomsleyStrike.htm

It comes very much from a particular time and place, but it also reminds me very much in its tone and sentiments of the Miners’ Strike against Thatcher nearly one hundred years later. Unfortunately, after Thatcher won, she nearly totally destroyed the mining industry in Britain so that there are very few miners left.

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