Union Houses Must Come down and the Railroads go to pot

Come all you English poor folks, and listen to my song
An alteration must take place - And that before 'tis long
The steam has great distraction made, on land from shore to shore
And the Union_houses¹ long has been the terror of the poor

Chorus:   England must confess we're in a mess
                  Sad is our nation's lot
                  The Union houses must come down
                  And the railroads go_to_pot¹

The foreigners from Britain's shore must quickly banished be
Italians, French and Germans and monkeys o'er the sea
For they have ruined old John_Bull³ whom they did never serve
Foreigners can live like nobles where poor Englishmen will starve

Trade's at a stand throughout the land and labour's thrown away
A poor man like a horse must work - for scarce a bob¹ a day
While his tender wife and children pines and hangs their drooping heads
The rich can sing and quaff their wines while the poor scarce get bread

Not more than fifty years ago, the truth you must allow
Our parents then was able to keep a pig and cow
The little farmers they could live and people did not dream [Note 458.1]
Instead of cattle² every sort of work should go by steam.

But now the times are altered farmers daughter wear a veil
A bustle¹ and a bow made just like a donkey's tail
A fine blood_horse¹ to ride on, so spirited and savage
And coral ear-rings hanging down as big as a German sausage

We recollect Andover, where the poor folk made their moans
And where for water gruel, they was sent a grinding bones [Note 458.2]
The Poor_law¹ Act, it is a fact, was passed by selfish elves
May the Lord have mercy on the poor, the rich can help themselves

Where 'ere you go you'll find it so, in country or in town
The people say the Union houses shortly must come down
They've been tried and will not answer; they are unjust and cruel
Would Nosey¹ and Prince_Albert¹ like to live on water gruel?

When Albert first to England came, from Germany alack
He had neither breeches, coat or shoes, or shirt upon his back
But know he houses has and lands, and a great big Flemish farm [Note 458.3]
And a blooming little wife to roll and cuddle in his arms

An Englishman of labour was never yet afraid
All we want is work to do and for our labours paid
Foreigners all sent away, taxation at an end
And each great farm in England divided into ten

But the time is coming fast boys, and come it will we'll see
The railroads and the union houses at an end will be
The poor shall live in happiness contentment shall be seen
Manual labour, liberty, and nothing done by steam.

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

Click to show Sources etc
Source Title A New song for the times The Union Houses Must Come Down and the Railroads Go to Pot
Bargery Number 458
Roud V13993
Earliest Date 1840
Evidence for Earliest Date Albert married Victoria in 1840.
Latest Date 1852
Evidence for Latest Date The reference to the Duke of Wellington implies he was alive when the song was written. Wellington died in 1852.
Comments on Song This song continues the complaint of earlier items about the effects of enclosure, the corn laws, and poor law reform. It features stock characters like the rich farmers daughter and adds later resentments about Prince Albert
Source of Text Boldeian Library Johnson Ballads 1113
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given
Printer or Publisher Ryal
Where Printed London

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Anticipates the benefits the railway will bring despite objections to its building

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Describes  events at the fair and expects that people will use the railway to travel to the fair.

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Journey with the Railway from Pembroke...

bar203: Dates 1866~1870|

Looks forward to country dwellers being able to get easily to markets and visit cities. Translation from Welsh.

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Union Houses Must Come down and the...

bar458: Dates 1840~1852|

The worlds gone to the dogs. Includes verse accusing railways and steam power of causing hardship

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Western Railroad

bar473: Dates 1863~1863|

Welcomes the arrival of the railway and the benefits it will bring; and bids good riddance to the stage coaches.

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Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

Source Title A New song for the times The Union Houses Must Come Down and the Railroads Go to Pot
Bargery Number 458
Roud V13993
Earliest Date 1840
Evidence for Earliest Date Albert married Victoria in 1840.
Latest Date 1852
Evidence for Latest Date The reference to the Duke of Wellington implies he was alive when the song was written. Wellington died in 1852.
Comments on Song This song continues the complaint of earlier items about the effects of enclosure, the corn laws, and poor law reform. It features stock characters like the rich farmers daughter and adds later resentments about Prince Albert
Source of Text Boldeian Library Johnson Ballads 1113
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given
Printer or Publisher Ryal
Where Printed London
DATA for: A New song for the times The Union Houses Must Come Down and the Railroads Go to Pot

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