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[Note 515.1] The piece is described "An old Denton Rhyme" Denton is about 6 miles from Stockport.

[Note 515.2] A date of composition of 1840 or soon afterwards would agree with the collector's belief that the piece was written "nearly seventy years" before 1906 "when railway travelling was in its infancy" and supports the suggestion that the event described was the opening of the Manchester and Birmingham Railway.

[Note 515.3] "th' march o' hintellect," :- Writing to The Times in May 1824, the industrialist and philanthropist Robert Owen remarked that in recent years 'the human mind has made the most rapid and extensive strides in the knowledge of human nature, and in general knowledge'. He called this 'the march of intellect' and believed it had reached a pace that could not be stopped. Building upon this, Henry Brougham established the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in 1826, with the purpose of enabling the education of the masses. The phrase 'the March of Intellect' became a rallying cry for social and technological progress, its importance being to give all classes the opportunity to better themselves. To others, though, it was seen as giving hope where in fact there was no opportunity and of raising people above their station.

[Note 515.4] It happen't one sunshoiny mornin' I' june" :- Amost certainly refers to the opening of the first section of the Manchester-Brimingham line 4th June 1840. The section ran from Heaton Norris - just north of Stockport - [Ref:] to a temporary station at Travis Street in Manchester [Ref:] (See Notes 515.2 and 515.5 below). The railway was immediately popular and carried nearly two thousand passengers in the first twenty weeks.

[Note 515.5] "Th' fost thing for a ticket to th' office aw crop… He'd printed it o in a minute!
":- The story teller's amazement at the ticket printing machine may be a reference to the Edmondson railway ticket machine named after its inventor, Thomas Edmondson. Previously, railway companies had used handwritten tickets, as was the practice for stagecoaches, but it was laborious for a ticket clerk to write out a ticket for each passenger and long queues were common at busy stations. A faster means of issuing pre-printed tickets was needed. There was also a need to provide accountability by serial-numbering each ticket to prevent unscrupulous clerks from pocketing the fares, since they had to reconcile the takings against the serial numbers of the unsold tickets at the end of each day. [Ref :]
The Edmonson system was adopted by the Manchester and Leeds, the first section of which opened in 1839, so it is likely that the technology was adopted by the Manchester and Birmingham Company.

[Note 515.6] "a mon wi' a chimney-sweep sign on his broo" is probably a reference to some sort of brush-like cockade or hackle on the uniform cap of a railway employee. Early railway uniforms were heavily influenced by military uniforms.

[Note 515.7] "Stop, stop" aw cried eawt, "ther's a mon lost his hat" :-
When the story teller loses his hat he clearly expects the train to stop to allow him to retrieve it. That might have been the practice with stage coaches, and indeed, the heavier stage waggons travelled at a walking pace thus enabling passengers to jump off, retrieve fallen articles and then catch-up with the waggon. Early railway passengers were totally unprepared for speed of steam locomotives.

[Note 515.8] "Then i' Rushfort wi' stopt, an' a rush ther' vur for't" :-
There is a Rushford Park on the line between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport.

[Note 515.9] Bu aw're loike for t' com back, so aw ventur't my ride, Wonst moor, up' o' th' mersy o' steum ; -Ther'n a gentlemon's pleck, so aw crop i' to insoide, For a shillin' - wheer nobdy con see 'um.":- apparently the hero paid a shilling for seat in a covered carriage for his return journey; implying that he was previously in an open carriage; the sixpenny fare of the title. An inference supported by the earlier lines "When ther' coom such a blaych o' cowd wind; / Then aw gript fast to th' side, bur my hat it went o'er".

[Note 515.10] "Till again Stopport pavors aw leet on" :- If Stopport is Stockport, then the likelihood is that the railway referred to is the Manchester and Birmingham.


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