William Parker by Buz Collins My name is William Parker to a poor man I was born And I lived my life in Carlton in the town of Nottingham And I lived my life in Carlton 'til I reached my fifteenth year And the time it came for me to leave for to travel fair Nottinghamshire And the time it came for me to leave employment for to gain So I travelled into Nottingham by the way of Lenton Chain So I travelled into Nottingham on a route I knew fair well And it's there I spied my future on the Nottingham Canal The year was eighteen-hundred and eighteen And often the laden narrowboats I'd seen And I knew then my future plan, to be a boatman It was early Saturday morning down to Gedling I did go For to gather a basket of mushrooms that in the meadow they did grow For to gather a basket of mushrooms that I took to the market that day Where I earned me a pocket of money in the cheapside passageway Where I earned my pocket of money for the new clothes that I sought And I went out from the market in the boatman's clothes I'd bought And I went out from the market feeling proud and feeling free And I went to find employment at the Nottingham Boat Company It was Hezekiah Riley that I sought For to hire myself onto his narrowboat And it is there that I began to be a boatman Now Riley's boat it was tied up on the wharf against the road And it was a cargo of gunpowder they struggled to unload And it was a cargo of gunpowder in barrels thirty-one But one of the barrels was broken and it's out the powder did run But one of them barrels was broken and the powder spilt out bad And it's crewman Joseph Musson says 'I'll make a flash now lads' And it's crewman Joseph Musson with a hot coal in his hand And he touches it to the powder that had fallen to the ground The warehouse full of powder did explode My body thrown across the canal to the path where the boats were towed And I died there in the sand no more a boatman It was ten men that were killed that day and many others hurt And it's still I'll haunt that warehouse where my body was torn and burnt And it's still I'll haunt that warehouse for my spirits shall never be free So remember the great explosion at the Nottingham Boat Company A detailed account of the Nottingham Canal and the explosion referred to in this song can be found in the May 1989 on-line edition of the magazine of the Lenton Historical Society - the Lenton Times. Recorded on :
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