Push Boys Push (Dudley Canal Tunnel Song) Dudley Canal Trust We're going though this tunnel, push boys push We're trying to save this tunnel, push boys push It's the pride of Dudley Town And they're trying to close it down So, push boys push Ho! push boys push We'll go through Castle Mill, push boys push Cathedral Arch as well, push boys push There's no more fresh-air smell When you pass by the Well So, push boys push Ho! push boys push The boat's been going through, push boys push Since seventeen-ninety-two, push boys push It's a crime and it's a shame That we cannot do the same So, push boys push Ho! push boys push Don't let your strength to fail, push boys push 'Cos we're coming to the Jail, push boys push We may get stuck inside If the boat it is too wide So, push boys push Ho! push boys push The tunnel's two miles long, push boys push That's why we sing this song, push boys push It keeps our spirits high While we cannot see the sky So, push boys push Ho! push boys push And now we're coming nigh, push boys push Oh don't you see the sky, push boys push We'll have a celebration Now we've sung it to the nation So, push boys push Ho! push boys push Yes! push boys push Now! push boys push Well, push boys push The words to "Push Boys Push" were written, circa 1966, during a trip through Dudley Tunnel by Glyn Phillips and other members of the then Dudley Canal Tunnel Preservation Society, and later added to the tune composed by Glyn. DCTPS became Dudley Canal Trust. Jon Raven took the song and performed a slightly different version. (Information kindly provided by Tony Gregory). Dudley Tunnel is a very narrow tunnel running under the town, connecting the Dudley Canal to the Birmingham Main Line at Tipton. This 3000 yard tunnel was opened in 1792 and as it had no towing path, boats had to be legged through. The closure of the canal was proposed in 1959 but a group of enthusiasts resisted the closure, forming what became the Dudley Canal Trust. The canal was re-opened in 1973 and as the ventilation is poor, boats must still be legged through or pulled by an electrically operated tug. The tunnel contains old limestone workings, and is not a simple straight-through tunnel. The various features referred to in the song are: Castle Mill - a basin open to the surface; Cathedral Arch - the underground junction of two tunnels; the Well - an air shaft; the Jail - a kink in the tunnel. This film from the Media Archive for Central England (MACE) (1964) came to my attention thanks to the efforts of Tim Lewis. Recorded on :
Recorded by The Black Country Three on ‘The Jolly Machine’ which was an LP record made by Michael Raven and Joan Mills with folk group Saga in 1974 for the Folk Heritage label (FHR053). Subtitled: Songs of Industrial Protest and Social Discontent from the West Midlands as printed in the book of the same name. It was released in CD format and is available from the Mike Raven website.
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