Sykehouse Bridge by Graham Pirt I was born on the Aire and Calder canal The water was in me soul The barges were both me joy and me tears A workmaster powered by coal To turn from the wheel the dust and the grime Was always me dream at the night But each waking day I would rise and return To the dirt and the work and the fight Chorus : Down to Sykehouse Bridge we sail The water lies ribbon straight Tonight at home I'll rest me head And the barges they can wait When I was a lad me back it was broad Like a man at the wheel I would stand I'd haul, trim and fender from mooring til night But if I ran the gate I was dammed For the skipper was hard in hand and in heart To deckies who never could fend The curses and beatings you lay there and wished That the trip it could come to an end Chorus As manhood came on, I'd a barge of me own A 60 foot sheffield keel I'd moor her tight up by Sprotbrough Flash And take to the rod and the reel For the time that I had was all of my own No master to curse and to swear For if I didn't make a lot before dark Then I'd only me own hand to fear Chorus As me sons became men I took them aboard And showed them the work that was mine I taught them to coil, to splice and to hope That the barge would be there's given time But they all moved away to jobs in the town Canals held no place in their heart I sit by the dock with the barge moored up Watch it rusting and falling apart Chorus Now time has gone by, the tom puddings have gone The coal hoists have moved their last The sand and the coal now come in by road Making barges a thing of the past But you can't moor a wagon at Ferrybridge Wharf Nor hear water lap at its bow No you won't hear the names of girls and of dales Nor call them back like I do now Chorus The song was written by Graham Pirt and was recorded by the group of which he was a member, 'Cockersdale', on their CD 'Wide Open Skies', Fellside FECD123 (1997). The sleeve notes state : When Graham moved to Goole he was very impressed by the short history of the town, set up as a company town for the Aire and Calder canal. The unique industrial heritage of the town includes the 'tom puddings'; small barges carrying coal and towed in long trains down the canal to Goole where they were lifted aloft by equally unique Bartholomew's Coal Hoists to empty the coal into ships.
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