Good Old George by Jon Raven Aye Georgie's the lad that'll show 'em He'll teach 'em their p's and their q's When he comes down from Coalville to London They'll see a man what don't know how to lose. He'll give of his best for the brickies For once he was a brickyard child himself But now he has fought all their battles And used up all his hard earned wealth. He rose from a child in the brickyards To manage a firm on his own But he lost all his money and then lost his job When he fought the children's cause all alone. Well he's won an act of Parliament for the brickies Though he's got no job, three children and a wife Now he's fighting for the navigation children And living on handouts every day of his life. You'll see him by day at the cutside As he talks with the boatees and their wives By night he writes his letters to the papers To tell the world about the boatmen's lives. Now some say he's a stubborn do-gooder Who'd do his best to look unto himself But some of us believe that he's a her And we'll follow him in poverty and wealth Written about George Smith of Coalville for a stage musical documentary 'Canal Folk'. Jon Raven comments that it should be sung 'to a sentimental, even maudlin, tune of the music hall type'. He also points out that it was one of a number of songs written to fit particular scenes in the play and may therefore not stand up too well in ordinary performance. George Smith was a Victorian philanthropist who started life working (aged 9) for thirteen hours a day in a brickyard. He worked his way up to become a brickyard owner and colliery manager. Despite being reduced to near poverty at times, he championed the cause of brickyard children, then the canal community and gypsies.
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