Knott Mill Fair

The hero travels by train from Ashton to Manchester where visits the fair with friends and relatives

 [Note 668.1] [668Notation]

Last Easter Monday off I went
Like other folk on pleasure bent
The railway station soon I gain
Where crowds were waiting for the train

I got my ticket paid my fare,
For weather banish'd every care,
And as along the rails we flew
Fair Ashton faded from our view [Note 668.2]

Each lusty lad with rougish face,
Had brought his girl with modest grace;
And as the mills were all at play
He keeps this famous holiday.

In Manchester we did arrive
After a quick and pleasant drive
And presently the townsfolk found
Us country johnnies gazing round.

To get a dinner without pay
To brother Jack's I hied away,
And there upon a table stood
Veal and bacon prime and good

Soon brother Jack came from his work, [Note 668.3]
And vow'd at home he would not lurk;
And so to drive away dull care,
He'd go with me to Knott Mill Fair. [Note 668.4]

Upon this point we did agree,
And off we set in merry glee,
And for a glass of something good,
We call'd at Admiral Collingwood. [Note 668.5]

We'd scarcely been ten minutes there,
Ere brother Joseph did appear,
Attended by a friend or two
Who came Knott-mill's gay scenes to view.

"What Jack and Simon you both here,
I'll drink your health in good strong beer,
You've acted just like men of sense,
Pray take a glass at my expense."

Thus spake my honest brother Joe,
While pleasure in his face did glow,
And now we all appear'd quite keen,
To go and see what could be seen.

Down Deansgate then we trudg'd along
And soon were number'd with the throng,
And we saw oysters, Nuts and Cakes,
Enow to furnish Ashton Wakes

Her rows of stands well filled with toys,
Attract the eager children's eyes
And flying boxes whirling round
Rise twenty feet above the ground

Now pressing onward with the crowd,
Show-folks and fools were bawling loud
And as we jostl'd through the fair,
What sounds of music rent the air.

First Wombwell with his brazen band [Note 668.6]
Had taken up the western stand
And then the band began to play
All other music died away

His canvas pictures spreading far,
Like sails upon a man of war,
To tell what ne'er has been denied,
The living wonders are inside

There wax-works figures catch the eye [Note 668.7]
And "walk-in gents" was all the cry
While picture on the outside tell,
How Nelson at Trafalgar fell.

Gazing round on every side,
Clowns and monkeys we espied,
Trying ev'ry new invention
Just to gain the crowd's attention

Each show was crowded more or less
(How music charms away distress!)
One man I thought deserved the pelf(1)
He play'd an entire band himself.

Our party now began to think
Twas time that we should get a drink,
So off we went to spend our tin¹
At what is called the Trumpet Inn [Note 668.8]

There sitting drinking, talking, joking
Some were laughing others smoking,
In came with nuts a pretty girl,
And begged of us to have a twirl

Now twirl about was all the go,
My pockets filled to overflow
My luck was good I won each time [Note 668.9]
And found the nuts were good and prime.

As change of scene was all our aim
We left this place for another game
And through the fair again did range
To gape and stare at what was strange.

One man he surely was a witch
He swallow'd blazing ball of pitch!
Such wonders fairly did me o'er
Old Nick(1) himself could do no more.

But what amused me most of all,
Was were we happen'd next to call
A blackamoor came in to say,
Some charming music he would play.

Then with his fist he took his nose
And screwed it round, then said here goes
Then on his face began to drum
Amazement fairly struck me dumb!

No wonder he went black and blue
He played a perfect rat tat too:
And made my brother Joe exclaim
That Crambo Click should tell his fame

We parted now with brother Joe,
And off to Islington did go [Note 668.10]
And ere we could agree to part
We'd go and have another quart¹

Then to Luck's Hall we straightway went [Note 668.11]
Determined on an argument
I knew which side my foe would be
So took my ground accordingly.

He is the landlord of the place,
And "grumblers" written on his face, 
And if to differ you should choose
Your empty notions he'll abuse.

He's grown so fat he scarce can walk,
Yet on distress he likes to talk,
And swears that the whole British nation
Is in a state of pure starvation.

With noisy arguments and vague
I praised the Anti Corn-Law League¹ [Note 668.12]
Said if their point they could obtain
Things would all go right again.

He soon was up at boiling pitch,
His eyes flash'd fire his face did twitch,
And looking at me like a Turk,
He swore my argument he'd burk(1).

Give folks good wage, tis all they want; 
And not your Anti-Corn-Law¹ cant;
And when in Peter Street I call
I'll s**t upon the Free Trade Hall [Note 668.13]

Here brother Jack began to curl,
And said the landlord was a churl(1)
And he would be a stupid ass,
That stop'd to get another glass.

Then home we both agreed to steer
For drink had made us rather queer
God night I said to brother Jack
And off to Ashton hied me back.