Oldham Workshops

A description of a young man's first experience of an industrial town. Contains a reference to a stationary engine.

When I' finished my work last Saturday neet,
Wi' new hat and Sunday cloas I dressed myself complete;
I took leof o' my mother wi' a very woeful face,
And started off for Owdhum soon, that famous thriving place

Chorus : With my whack row do dow dow, tal la lal di ral di
               Whack row di diw diw, tal de ral de ral

When I geet to Coppy Nook, it pleased me very well;
I seed all th' town afore me of which I'm goin' to tell.
Thur wur coaches, carts and coal pits as thong as yo'd desire
And coal enough they'd getten up to set th' whole town o' fire.

I coom up by th' Owd Church, and I seed th' New Market Hall;
It looked so queer a building, I couldn't help but call.
One part of it they'd setten out wi' verry pratty shops,
They'n lined it wi' cast iron and they'n built it up o' props.

To Hibbert and Platts shop then I went I' th' Lackey Moor, [Note 292.1]
And fun no little trouble to get in the lodge door;
And then, by gum, so busy, they wur at it left and right,
Un stripped in all their shirts too, I thought they're goin' to fight.

Some chaps ot they cawed smiths, great bellows they had got,
Like foo's they blowed cowd wind to make the iron hot;
But then owd Neddy engine, I think he beats the whole, [Note 292.2]
He's fond of summat warm, sure, for they feed him up o' coal.

The moulders among sand, they were making things complete,
Fro' a shaftin' or a fly wheel to a handsome fire grate;
Cast iron's very dear now, or it would be nowt wrong,
To make a scoldin' woman a new cast iron tongue. [Note 292.3]
I went to Barnes's next un just looked through some rooms, [Note 292.4]

Where sum wur makin' spring frames and others power looms;
Some tunin' and some filin' un screwin' bolts to beams;
I reckon soon both sun and moon they'll make to go by steam.

I went into a weavin' shad and such a clatter there,
Wi' looms un wheels aw goin' so fast, I hardly durst go near.
The lasses were so busy shiftin' templets(1), shuttlin' cops¹,
One shuttle had like to given me a devlish slop(2) I' th' chops(1).

I went to lots o' factories to see what they're about;
I couldn't get to see much there because they'd all turned out(1).
They would not gie um brass enough, as far as I could learn,
Un so th' turnouts were goin' about a-lookin' for th' short turn

I went to other workshops, some of which I didn't know
I remember Green's and Halliday's, Garnet's and Sam Roe's
I wanted to see a chap at Travis's, but there I've much I' fault
For the said all the chaps were fuddling(1) down at Collit's vaults

I come again up th' town, reet opposite Swan door, [Note 292.6]
Un there I heard an organ, like a lion it did roar,
Un folks were all crowding upstairs there like a station
I sure there's a church here they'n a famous congregation.

I wanted to see all so I clammer'd up a loft,
Un to show at I'd good manners my hat I quickly doft
But when the singin started I stood just like a gobbin(1)
For instead of hallelujah they blowed out gee wo dobbin. [Note 292.5]

When I fun it were an alehouse I sit me down I'th throng,
Shure a chap ut they cawed Bardsley he sang a reet good song;
Un when he coom to th' end on't they gave him some fine claps,
Wene were chaps for lasses lookin out, and lasses for their chaps.

If th' work folk would be reasonable un th' masters be but just,
The turnouts will turn in and prosper all things must;
For your lasses are all pretty, your workmen rare and clever,
So success to Owdham Town and trade and th' workin' folk for ever.